Shared values, shared beliefs…… speaking one language.
Recently I was struck by the story of Babel and how God caused confusion between the people by changing their language.
From the story, you could see that God knew that humans could achieve great things if they worked together. In order to thwart the vision the people of Babel had in mind, God decided to divide them by changing their language.
The people of Babel spoke one language. Literally. And as a result, were able to pursue a great vision together.
In marriage, it’s no different.
You may not have to literally speak one language. However, speaking one language in terms of having shared values and goals makes it possible to pursue and achieve great things together.
Marriage, to me is similar to rubbing two pieces of rough sandpaper together. For both surfaces to be smooth, there has to be some friction. And that is totally understandable because the two people who come together in a marriage are entirely different individuals with their own unique personalities and blending isn’t always easy.
Marriage is no piece of cake, we already know that. However, marriage could become more difficult when couples don’t share certain values that are important to each other.
Values around faith, family, kids, finance, lifestyle, sex and so on could very easily become problematic if the couple do not see eye to eye.
Take for instance, a marriage between a husband who would like to have kids immediately after getting married and a wife, who would rather wait till she attains a certain career status before she thinks of having kids.
A marriage between a woman who prefers to save money for the rainy day, and a man who is Mr Big Spender. Or a marriage where the wife believes her income is hers alone, while the husband believes in having a joint family purse.
A couple of different faiths having issues deciding whose faith the kids will be raised in.
The list is endless.
Now don’t get me wrong, no two people could always agree on every single thing, not even if they were identical twins. However, if you share similar values in areas that are important to both of you, it could be a bit easier to ‘agree to disagree’ or look the other way in other less important instances.
If you are yet to be married. It is worth assessing to know if you and your intended share common values on important issues. Don’t be blinded by emotions. Don’t soldier on with the expectation that the individual will change once you get married.
Identify the values that are vital to you as an individual, values that you live by and carry out an assessment of what those values mean to your intended. If there are certain values that you hold dear and your intended has different values in that regard, it’s important to take a critical look at that relationship and decide how best to proceed.
Ignorance in this regard, is not bliss.
What about those who are already married? What can be done?
One crucial factor as to how such fundamental differences can be handled in a marriage is RESPECT for each other.
You may not always agree with their values, however in seeking to understand them, it is important to respect the values that they have.
As an example, there are couples today of different faiths that have been able to coexist peacefully by according utmost respect to each other. I’m not going to lie to you, It’s most definitely a lot easier to be of a like mind and have like values, however if you are married and in that situation already, there’s not much that can be done about it except to respect each other’s values.
Now, I am not saying here that change is impossible. The only constant thing in life is change, and it’s possible that values could change. Not as a result of forceful intervention of a spouse but as an individual’s personal decision to change. Granted, the chances of this happening may not be very high but still it’s not impossible. Regardless of if the desired change happens or not, respect is crucial in dealing/living with a spouse whose fundamental values differ from yours.
As said earlier, the easiest and best way is to make a proper decision prior to the marriage. So I will say this again, if you are unmarried. Please, please and please, look before you leap and save yourself the heartache.
Just like the people of Babel before they were thrown into confusion, in a marriage, it is much easier to accomplish great feats together when you speak the same language.