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Celebrate Your Differences

Take a seat at any business conference in the United States and you will hear the word “synergy” mentioned multiple times. Synergy refers to the idea that many parts make up an effective whole. In the business world, this refers to the employees in a company that make the company so successful. In the body, it refers to the unique systems of organs, bones and tissues that enable a person to accomplish so much. And in your marriage, it refers to the diverse traits, talents, and strengths that you and your partner both contribute to the relationship.

When you and your spouse first entered into a relationship, everything the other had to offer was a novelty. You admired your partner’s confidence when entering a party. Your spouse valued your ability to calmly reason with rude sales people. But as time passed, the initial excitement over differences may have faded. Now, you might find your spouse’s confidence as arrogant and he or she may see your calmness as passive.

When maintaining a healthy level of respect and love within your marriage, it is important to remember that your differences are what make you so effective as a couple. If you were both hot heads with customer service representatives, you would have never gotten that issue with your phone bill resolved. If neither of you spoke to others at social gatherings, you wouldn’t have as many friends to spend time with. Each of you brings something special to the relationship that causes it to work like a well-oiled machine.

If your marriage is young (or even if it is not), think about the different strengths you and your spouse each possess. How can these traits aid in the daily functioning of the relationship? Maybe your spouse is an excellent listener. You may complain that he or she doesn’t talk enough, but what does your partner’s skill provide you? When you get home from a difficult day, does he or she listen while you vent? Does the quiet presence help you to calm down when you are anxious?

Likewise, how can your personal strengths help your spouse? Are you skilled at baking? Why not bake your spouse something special for his or her birthday or contribute to his or her office bake sale? Do you have a knack for seeing the positive side of things? Remind your partner regularly what makes him or her wonderful.

By seeing your differences as strengths in the relationship and utilizing them to their full potentials, you create synergy within your marriage. When each of you acts with the other in mind by contributing in unique ways, you are improving the overall functioning of the marriage. This makes both of you happier and ensures an effective method for maintaining a successful relationship in the future.

(Source: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey)

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