Marriage Insight: Your Differences Can Help You Navigate High Stress Change

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

You hear about it all the time: a married couple is torn apart when taking on a new responsibility like buying a home … increased obligations at work … a long-term house guest … aging parents …the birth of a child …

Potential for conflict can be especially high if the couple didn’t expect the changes.

couple in sunset

Image: Wallpaper Up

But when husband and wife understand that the other’s strengths can mesh with their own to manage responsibility, they can work together as a team to navigate it – even when the stakes are high.

Here’s an Insight

God uses a couple’s differences to help them manage a big responsibility together.

Parents often complain that children don’t come with instructions, but here is a case where one did. Manoah and his wife had long given up expecting a child. Yet a man sent by God appeared to Manoah’s wife and told her she would have a son. Manoah’s wife was told explicitly how to care for herself during pregnancy and to raise the child as a Nazirite, for “he shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5, ESV).

Talk about raising the stakes and feeling the pressure of responsibility! It’s one thing to face an unplanned pregnancy when you didn’t expect to become a parent. It’s quite another to be told that the child is sent by God to lead your nation in confronting a dreaded enemy. Manoah and his wife were about to navigate a big change in their lives.

Big Differences Can Work Together to Navigate Big Responsibility

By all accounts, the couple had a good marriage. Both Manoah and his wife were people of deep faith. Neither questioned God’s call on their lives. Each trusted the information God had sent.

Their differences lay not in how the two processed information (they both trusted information easily) but in how they managed change, particularly in a high-stress situation.

As a Dynamic, Manoah felt the pressure of responsibility and moved quickly. He immediately invited the Lord’s guidance to “teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born” (Judges 13:8, ESV) . In his excitement, Manoah plied the heavenly visitor with requests to stay for a meal and reveal his name. Once Manoah realized the messenger was an angel of God he instantly responded. “We shall surely die, for we have seen God” (Judges 13:22).

His Predictable wife could have become irritated with Manoah’s frenetic intensity. Instead, she listened to him carefully and responded in her steady, logical manner: “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these” (Judges 13:23, ESV).

In the middle of their dream-come-true in becoming parents, these two were willing to listen to each other and lean on each other. Manoah’s ability to move quickly balanced well with his wife’s calm approach. The birth of Samson could have torn apart the couple, especially given Samson’s uniqueness and his later acts of rebellion. Instead, husband and wife navigated this high-stakes responsibility by completing each other during the change.

You and your spouse can, too.

How do you handle change, especially when under stress? How about your spouse? Put the two together.  You’ll navigate the challenge well when you lean on each other’s strengths during change.

Now How Shall I Live?

Read how Samson’s parents learned about his birth in Judges 13.

  • Identify the strengths exhibited by Manoah, his father.
  • Identify the strengths exhibited by Samson’s mother.
  • How did God use this couple’s individual strengths to build an even stronger 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 – Marriage Insights Profile

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