Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger
For as long as I can remember it has always been the popular belief that it’s not really starting that is important but finishing. Most people familiar with the Information Age (where the existence of being misinformed and disinformed increases the challenge with trust in all types of relationships), should respond to that belief in the same way as they would this one: Knowledge is Power, with Who Lied To You? You see your attitude at the beginning of a task determines its outcome more than anything else, therefore how you begin (in general) does in fact impact how you finish. Seeing that applied knowledge is power (impacting the consequences depending on how that power is used), commencing the right way in your relationship can actually greatly influence how it progresses later on. Too many times people are drawn to and seek out similarities as for hidden treasure to the point that differences are perceived as foreign objects!
Making Inadvertent Mistakes
There was a nice dating show that I watched a few years ago. It involved contestants competing in the jungle as automatically paired couples and later in the main ceremony, empowered with the choice to remain with the pair or choose someone else to be paired with. I remember a question in one of the episodes in season 2, I believe it was called Love In The Wild, a couple asked each other this very question which I know is extremely important for discussion:
What are the biggest mistakes men and women make in relationships?
Here is one for each gender that I thought was really interesting. For the men putting someone (or something) ahead of her is a recipe for disaster. I can personally relate to this. My partner (both in prayer and life), my shining light, my deputy commander, my vice captain, the wisdom of my ways and the love of my life, Nelly Sophia is the important individual I made this mistake with. The worst part was that it was an innocent (continual) action that I did not know was a mistake! She loves to talk every night for as long possible on the phone (because we only see each other once a week) and I would be engaging myself in a myriad of activities by the time she calls. From the moment I pick up the phone, part of my mind would be on the activity and the other part on her. Some friction arose every now and then as you can imagine. Sometimes I made the mistake of requesting for a “night off” so to speak completely unaware of the magnitude of what I was asking. Needless to say this created tension through the appearance of disinterest from the lack of attention given. I have learned that masculine energy is single-focused and targeted towards one purpose and goal, as such it is easy to ignore her (the women) and focus attention on somewhere else, particularly if it is work. Being sensitive to and cognizant of her feelings is not merely a habit that must be formed for creating balance, but a vital necessity.
Now for the women, the mistake they make more than any other (at least in my opinion) is being passive aggressive. Here is the thing on my part. There are times when I can pick this up with Nelly but then later take it as it is (simply because that’s what guys do) to avoid unnecessary assumptions. Having grown up with predominantly female friends I have tried to understand the concept of paradoxical terms with female logic. No means Yes, Yes means No, Maybe means No, We need to talk means I need to Complain, Sure go Ahead means I don’t want you To. This is a field I chose not to set foot on (in attempting to understand it) because I realized that life may possibly be complicated. That is definitely so in a relationship and women will do very well to acknowledge the easy-mindedness of the men and how very straightforward every word will be taken. The wisest move is to never under any circumstance be passive aggressive. Ladies say what you mean and mean what you say.
Different Is Not Wrong
To be honest I do not know why I titled the post what it is because I hate it when people use the term “same difference.” I thought I got a handle on it ever since coming across it the first time, but I wanted to really make sure that I had a good grip on it. It actually is “an idiomatic oxymoron [Oxford Dictionary Online]. It effectively means. Whether these two choices are the same or different is immaterial to me.” There is an element of indifference in that which can spell DANGER should it ever so much as cross the minds of any individual in a relationship. The main factor to consider is that being different is not automatically a bad thing. To perceive it this way puts a whole new meaning to Opposites Attract. I personally am multicultural and I love this about myself because I get to see people appropriately differently than most would as a result of observing everything from a non ethnocentric point of view. Appreciating people for who they are just as they are and learning how they conduct themselves and honouring that by being a part of it for the sole purpose of maintaining a strong relationship is crucial. In an intimate heterosexual relationship that is standard. The key thing in moving forward in spite of differences is perspective. Get in your partners shoes, see things from their angle and learn from reflective thinking (taking the time to contemplate the situation logically [bird’s-eye view] not emotionally [stuck in traffic view]).
In her book Battlefield Of the Mind Joyce Meyer exemplifies (on overcoming judgemental, critical and suspicious thinking) the value of my last point. She says
My husband and I are extremely different in our approach to many things. How to decorate a house would be one of those things. It isn’t that we don’t like anything the other one chooses, but if we go out to shop for household things together, it seems Dave always likes one thing and I like something else. Why? Simply because we are two different people. His opinion is just as good as mine, and mine is just as good as his; they are simply different.
If your friend/partner is from a country where they drive on the other side of the road from what you are used to, it’s not wrong! I cannot tell you how many times I have heard how Americans drive on the wrong side of the road and vice-versa towards Africans. Using chopsticks instead of regular cutlery is good. Fancy dining on the floor instead of a table? Even better. I asked my friend if she ever had a relationship with someone who was the total opposite of her. She said that’s her best friend. Use your differences to your advantage. If you can’t get around them, jump over them or go under them, then go through them together!