Marriage Insight: One Situation, Two Problems. How a Couple’s Strengths Blend To Solve Them

Insights are short, biblical truths to equip you to lead from your strengths.

You’ve experienced it yourself: one set of circumstances produces different problems for you and your spouse.

  • A promotion means you must move further away from one set of in-laws but closer to the other.
  • Your spouse battles an unfavorable diagnosis and you battle worry.
  • An issue on the news raises anger in one of you and anxiety in the other.

Here’s an Insight

Closed up holding hands young couple

God can blend a couple’s different strengths to solve different problems in a single set of circumstances.

Consider these circumstances: while David and his mighty men provided protection for Nabal’s flocks. Then they ran out of food. David requested supplies, yet Nabal rudely refused.

David had a problem: his men were hungry. They had worked hard to protect landowner Nabal, who now insulted them rather than providing support. David’s fuse was lit. Bent on attacking Nabal, he gathered his warriors.

Yet on the way to the confrontation, David encountered Nabal’s wife Abigail. She had a problem – different from David’s, though spawned by the same circumstances: she had learned that David was going to attack her people.

Two Problems. Two Sets of Strengths.

As an Aggressive, David was determined and direct. He did not allow Nabal’s maltreatment to be swept under the rug. His men needed food. His strengths meant he faced the problem head on to protect those he led, commanding the respect of his men his enemies alike. Respect would become increasingly important as his leadership responsibilities grew.

Abigail’s Reflective approach provided a perfect foil to her future husband’s shorter fuse. She acted quickly but calmly to avoid disaster by gathering supplies and then hurrying to meet David. Her generous gifts, humble attitude, and accommodating manner demonstrated the key to diffusing anger: respect. Abigail appealed to David’s “conscience (to avoid) the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself” (1 Samuel 25:31, NIV). In her calm, cooperating manner she provided the solution for David’s current problem – the need for supplies – and for his future conscience. Her strengths helped diffuse the fuse before it ignited a tragic explosion of bloodshed.

Is it any wonder that David accepted Abigail’s apology? David was so impressed with Abigail that he asked for her hand in marriage upon Nabal’s death.

Often the same situation presents a different problem for different people. Your strengths may help solve your spouse’s problem – and vice versa.

It did for David and Abigail. And it can for you and your spouse, too.

Now How Shall I Live?

Read the circumstances David and Abigail encountered in 1 Samuel 25.

  • Identify the strengths exhibited by David.
  • Identify the strengths exhibited by Abigail.
  • How did God use this couple’s individual strengths to build a strong marriage?

Powerful curriculum that equips couples to understand each others’ strengths and how those strengths work together in marriage: Different by Design

Discover and use your God-given strengths in your marriage using the Marriage Insights Profile.

More Marriage Insights

Elkanah and Hannah: Good Grief! How Differences Help Couples Grieve Together

Manoah and His Wife: How Differences Help Couples Navigate High Stress Change

Zechariah and Elizabeth: How Differences Make a Strong Marriage Stronger

More Insights About Strengths

Conflict: Flip the Switch! How to Use Your Adapted Strengths to Resolve Conflict

Conflict: It Can Lead to Multiplication

Conflict: Must Two Similar Personalities Always Lead to Conflict?

Conflict: Diffuse Jealousy by Blending Strengths