Turning Two into One: How to Overcome the Differences that Divide You
Whether you’re newly engaged or long married, congratulations on embarking on the experience of a lifetime! Marriage is quite an adventure, and somehow never exactly what we expect. Our God, after all, is a God of surprises, as Pope Francis is fond of saying.
The first bump in the road that many couples encounter is overcoming personality differences. Opposites really do attract, and that adds to the excitement but can also create conflict. Manny and Karee were very different, as they explain in Chapter One of The Four Keys. When they met, Manny was a “first-generation Spanish American, longtime New Yorker, Catholic, Republican, extrovert, and optimist.” In contrast, Karee was “a Virginian born and bred Episcopalian, Southern Democrat, and introvert with a slight tendency toward gloom.” They overcame their differences through respectful debate and reliance on God who loved them both equally.
In Chapter One, Manny and Karee describe their courtship, the early years of their marriage, and their dramatic struggle through Manny’s four brain surgeries to remove recurring tumors. Along the way, they will show you how to:
- Appreciate your personality differences
- Find common cultural and religious ground
- View disagreements as opportunities for growth
- Stand by each other in troubled times
- Overcome fear through faith
You can use the following conversation starters to get a discussion going among yourselves or in a small group. If it helps, think it over on your own time, take it to prayer, and jot down your answers before talking about them.
1. What personality, cultural, or religious differences do the two of you have? How have you handled them so far?
2. How often do you discuss important and difficult topics? How often do you apologize if what you say hurts or angers the other person?
3. Think of the biggest crisis that has hit your relationship. What character strengths or weaknesses were revealed in each of you?
4. Which friends and family members can you rely on to support your marriage?
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