When it comes down to the nitty gritty, Eric and I want a similar end – we want to help people. Our desire does not always take on the same shape, and we certainly have different ways of going about it; yet, the end goal is the same. If we each drew a map of how to get to our goal, Eric’s path would be straight and efficient while mine would have off ramps, detours, and loops. However, we are both heading towards the same emerald city – and it does us good to remember that when we feel like we are traveling toward opposing destinations.
You Goin’ My Way?
What brought us together in the first place was our love of psychology – specifically the study of personality – and our desire to help couples with their relationships. Our road to this similar place did not look the same. Eric felt God’s call to be a counselor when he was a junior in high school. As a teenager, and even in middle school, I was a sounding board for many people in my life – peers and adults alike – and I loved that they felt comfortable enough to share their hearts with me.
When Eric and I found each other, (I “found” him a bit sooner than he found me. But I tried to be patient! ~smile~), we were excited to be going in the same direction – or so we thought. The past eleven years has taught us that just because couples have the same goal does not mean they want to arrive at that destination by the same means. We could both agree to meet in Georgia, and Eric would probably gas up his tank, set his GPS, and go straight to Georgia. I might go north first to see a friend, then travel west to visit family, swing around to enjoy a week at a Gulf beach, and then finally find my way to Georgia. I can just picture Eric pacing and blowing up my phone: “Where are you!?!”
Even if you have the same goals, your partner may still drive you nuts if you do not share similar travel styles.
Half the Battle is Won
When Eric and I get frustrated with each other (you know, every five years or so ~wink~), it helps us to remember that we are on the same team. That truth grounds us and helps us regain a collective mentality. We have the same goal, but we do not play the same positions. Instead of fighting against the other’s unique style, we should embrace our differences and use them to our advantage. (For example, I should work at the beach!)
Seriously, though, I am thankful that Eric and I are not running hard after opposing ends. I do find comfort in that, even if at times I wish he approached life in my less aggressive, front porch sitting, kind of way. I am happy to think that our relationship is about more than just us – that God had bigger plans when He brought us together. Living for ourselves leads to emptiness and regret; but, giving our relationships and lives to God’s work, though exhausting and discouraging at times, brings fulfillment and blessing.
When I stand before the Lord someday, I want to offer Him more than a life lived solely for my pleasure. Without someone like Eric in my life, I might float around and never reach my potential. Eric occasionally pulls me into uncomfortable situations and then lets me go – catapulting me towards my purpose.
Do You Have the Same Ultimate Goal?
You and your future spouse do not have to share the same career goals to make a difference in the world. Honestly, Eric and I both want to help couples, but we do not have the same career goals – which has made this journey rather interesting. ~smile~
The best way to impact the world with your marriage is to have some meaningful goals in common that lead to the same ultimate goal. Our supreme goal is to help pre-engaged and engaged couples – and there are hundreds of ways to do that. We have married couples in our church who do not work in similar fields but share a desire to minister to children, or teens, or young families. Some couples we know have a heart for adoption and help other families who are heading down the same road. These husbands and wives have different talents and skill sets, but the same ultimate goal.
Is This Relationship Pushing You Closer to Your Purpose – or Pulling You Away?
When our clients are contemplating marriage, we ask them this question: “How can you both serve God better together than apart?” If you and your sweetheart cannot answer that question or the answer is “We do not know,” it is not yet the time to get married. We are not put on this earth just to amuse ourselves; we all have a purpose. Who we marry will either move us towards that purpose or pull us away from it. So, if the person you are dating is dragging you away from your life’s work, maliciously or just as a fun distraction, would you be wise to enter into a life-long covenant with him or her?
Talk about your life goals. Discuss what you want to see when you review your life someday. Do your stories look similar? Can you be a better blessing as a unit than you can be on your own?
How will you and your significant other impact the world together?
Picture: iStockPhoto/Alexey Fursov