A couple have been arguing; their preferences and personalities are at odds. He likes to go out with friends, drink and watch sports while she prefers to stay close to home, prefers soaps operas to sports and is a teetotaller. He speaks carelessly, she measures her words, he’s not affectionate, and she is demonstrative and romantic.

Enough time was not spent on getting to know each other better. The sexual chemistry was there, and that seemed enough, at the time. Now, the sex has lost its passion, the allure, faded away. Only the stark reality of strangers living together.

With such glaring differences, questions emerge. What kind of relationship can they build? How will they get along? How can these differences be ‘reconciled’? Is it possible? Who will have to change to accommodate the other? How will the ‘death’ of one’s personality play out?

Differences separate. Let no one lie to you that differences do not matter, because they do. In the movies, obstacles and differences are wonderfully and romantically overcome. That is the movies; it does not spill over to real life. In reality, oil and water do not mix, no matter how shaken they still separate, chalk and cheese are very different, they cannot blend, no matter what!

In the same way, people with serious fundamental differences cannot gel. Regardless of the passage of time… these differences will play out. Even in cases where the couple are fortunate enough to recognize their differences and try to work on minimizing the disruptive potential, if they become careless or relaxed, their differences will rise up. Not to think of a couple who are not mindful of their reality, their differences will, in no time drive a wedge between them.

So we need to be very careful in our approach to relationships and marriage. If it is wrong from the start, it will be a life of pain and ‘endurance’. If you rush in, you will have to rush out when the heat is on. Patient courtship is very helpful in allowing space, to get to know each other.

The scientific idea that “like poles repels and unlike poles attracts”, has been for long applied to the nature of attraction in human relationships. While this works in science, it does not work well in human relationships. Though, on a lesser scale, the notion of  ‘opposites’ attracts,  has some grounds from the view point of wisdom;  for example, a hot tempered  person will do well to link up with a calmer person, or that a short person will seek a taller partner; these are common sense, good judgement understanding, not about science or myths.

The idea of opposite attracts, that ‘good girls like bad boys’, that getting pregnant is grounds for marriage, that lust is love…such remain the blight of relationships, myths being passed down. The reality comes out clear in the alarming number of breakdown of relationships and marriages, amid the claim of ‘irreconcilable differences’ and incompatibility.

When something is contrary to another, there can hardly be common ground. When within a relationship, one personality is antagonistic towards the other; there can be no peace or meeting ground. The Bible is emphatic on this issue, the human nature (the flesh) and the Spirit (of God) are contrary, and there is no meeting point. You cannot be a carnal nominal Christian, lukewarm and expect the Spirit of God to be present in you. The Bible goes on to add; you cannot be of the world and be of God. The two mesh, there is no commonalty. That is why we are asked and even cautioned in Amos 3:3 “can two walk together, except they be agreed?”

When we are not in agreement from the onset, when a relationship starts out with major differences, even minor ones, and it is assumed or believed that love (our human kind of love) conquers all; then a rude awakening awaits. When such differences as cultural, values, background, education, mindset (thought processing), outlook etc. exist in a relationship, then one must be aware of the red flag.

Ignoring these difference through indifference, ignorance or wishful thinking will always come back to ‘bite’. When a couple, who, from the onset, are not mindful of their differences, even though, they come from different cultures, language and backgrounds, with other impacting differences, like conscience, moral integrity, approach to life and family values, raising children, discipline  and boundary issues. If it was sex or lust that brought them together, then as reality sets in, they do not stand a chance (unless they go back to the drawing board) to reassess their relationship and begin to set some parameters of engagement in redefining the kind of relationship they want going forward. But if it is too late, time has passed and this dysfunctional pattern of relationship has taken root, then contention and discord becomes the ‘normal’ they will live with if they do not separate.

So, to avoid such distressing realities; it is important that we take time to get to know our partner, understand  their history,  who they are, where they’re coming from, their family values, tradition and religious beliefs – what they believe. Some families may believe a woman is not equal to a man, so the treatment of the woman is not important. It may be a dysfunctional family who sees nothing wrong in wife beating, or where the man can disappear from home for days, without consequence. We need to ‘investigate’ and observe, the person and family. Crying and lamenting over ‘spilt milk’ is useless.

Be proactive in finding out what you need to know before enter into that relationship and family.

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