the yin and yang symbol in metallic blue

Living with differences in Families and Marriage

My sister-in-law and dear friend, Angela, is the author of an awesome blog that I recommend, My Story. One of her recent posts reads:

Deep Thoughts

“I had a thought as Clara and I drove up the canyon yesterday. She was praising God for creating such a beautiful world and we were remarking on how we love living in a place where the trees turn different colors in Fall — yellows, oranges and reds. And how in the spring they blossom with completely different colors — bright pink, pale pink, white, yellow, purple and then finally leaf to various shades of green. The leaves are different shapes and sizes and there is so much variety.

“I’d been listening to a podcast about personal revelation. And how when a calling is made, there’s not necessarily one person that can fill that spot. There are several, but the person making the calling prayerfully thinks through different options and chooses one of the several he feels most excited about. Sometimes a name comes to mind we wouldn’t have normally considered. And other times, when we’ve got the perfect person, we’re told (by others in the organization) we can’t have that person and we have to go back and reconsider. Doesn’t mean we didn’t get our inspiration right. Or that another person won’t be as good in that position. 

“With these things in mind, I thought of Adam in the Garden of Eden naming the animals. He didn’t magically choose the name that God wanted him to choose. Opposite. He chose a name and God essentially said, “That sounds great.” 

“Similarly, when our kids make decisions, they’re not trying to guess what we want them to do. We don’t have one path in mind for them and hope they read our mind and choose it. No. They have had life experiences and talents and likes and dislikes and it all goes into choosing their path. 

“We just enjoy sitting back and watching the process and whatever they decide, and said, “Sounds Great~” (Although when it comes to our kids, usually I’m like, ‘Sounds AWESOME!’)” Posted by Angela.

Parenting Through Differences

As I have reflected on this I was grateful for a lesson I have gained through experiences in my parenting. My children are so different from each other. A turning point in my mothering, living with the differences between me and my daughter, occurred when I stopped expecting her, to be like me by showing MY preferences, manifesting MY views, and responding how I would respond. Instead, I finally learned to let her be herself and enjoy the surprises as I witnessed her unfolding. There are many possibilities or right paths to take. (Saying that, there are some differences between right and wrong that are exact, but in the context of personality and preference, there are many forms of good.)

Here is a poem about marriage that my sister Carol sent me. I think it relates to these ideas:

On Marriage
by Kahlil Gibran – 1883-1931

Then Almitra spoke again and said, And what of Marriage, master?
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of the lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

As family members we live and dream so close to each other. I sometimes figure that I should be in perfect unity with my husband and my kids. In reality, when this doesn’t happen, I feel guilty or disappointed. Even resentful.

Why aren’t we the same? Why don’t they see it the way I do?

Professional Tips – Opposites Attract

In Natalie Clay’s podcast episode “Margaret and Robinson,” she discusses how opposites attract. “Those same differences tend to drive us crazy on the other side. Spenders end up with savers, laid back free spirits end up with someone who likes to plan and have structure. We don’t have to set ourselves up for torment if we let go of the idea that there is one correct way.”

Man alive! This is great advice for me. Duncan and I are definitely opposites in many ways. I have been battling this and as result, have felt resentful and dissatisfied for too long. The truth, if it is truth … I want it to be true, that two pillars can hold up their load without being exactly the same width, color, or RIGHT next to each other is incredibly comforting. I can hear this. I will put it into practice.

Yin and Yang

Like the symbol yin and yang, which represents the concept of good and bad, we live with opposites in families. Yin Yang can also mean two halves of a whole, a man and a woman or night and day. The symbol comes from the moon and sun. The moon is the black half while the sun is represented in the white half. While living with differences, we can live together, but not be the same. There is not just one correct way. We can love each other, but not grow in each other’s shadow.

Yes, deep thoughts.

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