The One Relationship Question Experts Never Answer
The way he remembers every detail of a documentary, but hardly notices the dirty dishes. The way she is quick to praise and uplift others, but all too easily berates herself. Men and women are both filled with incredible strengths and unfortunate weaknesses, and while we readily empathize with and understand those of our own gender, it can be tough to extend the same to those of the other.
Many renowned and beloved relationship gurus have made substantial contributions into this universal problem, and have offered much-needed insight and support to countless couples. Dr. Willard Harley’s “His Needs Her Needs” explores the differences in the physical brain of men and women and encourages couples to value each other’s opinions, perspectives and interests, concluding that doing so “can help both of them create a greater life than either could have created on their own.” Mark Gungor in “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage”, a comically entertaining presentation, regularly mentions how our differences are a part of God’s divine design for humankind. And you’ve surely heard of John Gray’s “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.” A household name, this book clearly maps out our differences and boldly encourages couples to go against their instincts and learn to rely on each other.
All of these relationship experts present solid, engaging and genuinely useful content to help men and women understand each other (even to the point of concluding that we’re not so opposite after all) but they miss the answer to one key question: why were we created different in the first place?
It Takes Two
If we look around us, we can easily find things in pairs: the sun and the moon, ocean and land, male and female. Father Moon teaches in the Divine Principle that this is because our Heavenly Parent, our Creator, is also a creature of dualities. God contains both masculinity and femininity within, and with God’s innate desire to create, those masculine and feminine characteristics would inevitably emerge in God’s creations.
But, have you ever wondered why these two different characters exist in the first place? God had the parental insight to know that life is all about learning, and while we can learn many things alone, learning about love requires give and take. It requires a pair. In that way, our spouse can be thought of as someone prepared by God to help us learn how to love, and we are meant to do exactly the same for them.
Father Moon poetically illustrates this concept, saying, “A spring-type person should be joined with an autumn-type person, because in order to make unity the spring-type person must travel through the summer and the autumn-type person travel through the winter; thus between them they encompass all four seasons. The important thing is to harmonize the extremes. That kind of harmony is the ideal.”
Have you ever tried to figure out your spouse, and found yourself pushed beyond the parameters of what you know and feel comfortable with? Once you come to an understanding, don’t you feel more whole and aware than you did before? In choosing to move towards each other in a mutual desire to love, respect and understand, we grow to encompass everything between us.
It’s About Knowing God’s Heart
If we choose to remain in our own little neck of the woods, we absolutely cannot come to know God’s whole heart. Likewise, we cannot know our whole heart without our spouse. God compels us to get up, get out the door and to travel—emotionally, intellectually and spiritually—to cross bridges we would much rather avoid. The epic adventure of finding God through the person we promise to love leads us to discover that our capacity of life and of love is much broader than we thought.
Choosing to love someone else requires us to get uncomfortable. By making the conscious effort to go beyond ourselves, we find God. God’s divine design for men and women is all about, in short, learning how to love fully by giving and receiving with our spouse each day.