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The Joys and Challenges of Marrying Your Opposite

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly
The Truth Network Radio
May 3, 2021 6:00 am

The Joys and Challenges of Marrying Your Opposite

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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May 3, 2021 6:00 am

Author Melanie Shankle offers a humorous look at the differences between men and women, and explains how couples can work through those differences to strengthen their marriage.

Previous Air Date: 5/22/18

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Sylvia's family was not in a good place. She was failing as a wife and mother, but her rest was the last strong family hope never give up helping on writing a G on Jim Daly today, so he's family is thriving. Working together can help rescue and strengthen more families like hers give today that family, my name, I have a world policy direction direction as we will wonder if you ever feel like that – are you married and you love each other but there are some things you are just on way different pages over and that's really your subject on today's Focus on the Family have navigated those differences and have some fun. Our host is focused president Dr. Jim Daly I'm John Fuller and Jim for the discussion. So my job so funny was that clip opposites do attract. I know it's not everybody's scenario and don't bother writing on that. We know that there are some couples that are very similar and we get it, but usually it's opposites that do attract. I don't know God's chemistry there what he put in us as human beings to be attracted to someone who thinks differently.

I think it's a good thing but it does create some very humorous mom is absolutely and it seems Jim that those differences get accentuated with the years and that's my perspective member Regina did our premarital counseling. When we went and we went in Google who I were saying were so much alike we like all the same things we set your weeks worth you know like every night of premarital counseling. We walked out of there.

We are so different you be okay and that's a good thing for premarital counseling because you want to be tested, that you really are committed to each other regardless of your differences not your similarities and you know what you're Focus on the Family we want to help you with that if you're not married yet in your thinking who would be right. We have resources to help you if you're married and you're thinking oh, how I made a mistake. We want to certainly be there for you in that circumstance to give you some help and to put an arm around you and make sure that God is in control and that you can make it through it and we have a guest today who will say that very thing she is married to an opposite and it's Melanie Schenkel she's been a guest on this broadcast before she's delightful. She is the founder of the popular big mama blog author of the book the antelope in the living room real story of two people sharing one life and she lives with her husband and opposite Perry and their daughter Caroline in the San Antonio Texas area, Melanie. It's great to have you back in Focus on the Family think it's like to be here.

Okay, let's start right there in the whole thing about the antelope in the room.

I'm assuming that's a stuffed animal overhead. But what's going on inside you are correct your correct my husband, my sweet husband is a hunter and last time deer heads in our living room. We have a lot of women would not be fine in Texas and I knew it when I married and it was part of the deal. We had those things, but there was a time I was out of town and I knew he'd gone this time months before Dan and shot a nail guy in the lab which O'Neill got antelope. If you give you a picture in your head kind of looks like a huge towel with horns is California but they go up in the air strike that it's not the prettiest thing you'll ever say that's an entirely new guy in life you can look it up on Google but it is one I never thought to ask what did you do with it or whatever I need to meet because that's we daily what he shoots and so I knew that we had done that I had gone on the trap right before Thanksgiving with some girlfriends and when I got home that day I walked into the house and there was. I can't even describe it to you a huge nail got antelope head hanging right next to my front door in my living room. It looked like the thing had been running down the block and cracked the front of our house look like a cow with horns exactly like a cow with it was enormous. I can't even tell you how big a 2000 pound animals like to ask you happy or sad. I looked at him and I cannot understand why you hate our house.

I don't understand like we live in a small little cottage house. We don't live in ranch house that lends itself to big animals hanging on the wall this thing with a monstrosity and so I said I don't even know what to do while he was angry and so I laughed because it really was one of those moments that ended with as really not speaking to each other for like two days got this trophy proud as hate and I don't want our living room and I thought this is one of those things and that's when I thought if I ever write a book on marriage on the call at the antelope in the living room, but these are the proverbial antelopes in the living room in the literal analects in the living room that caused some friction and tension in marriage is a question that is still well I will tell you I did for a long time. It did for a long time. A few weeks or a few years now. Now if you year that Christmas it loomed over our Christmas tree corrections function right off every time I would walk in the living room because this way this thing loomed I would be like hello and antelope of the Lord is covered, but the good news is about six months ago we redid my daughters playroom and we kind of made it into her little game room and she said the magic words that never would've worked for me. She said daddy I would really like to have that antelope and my plan now is in the supply room published non-she wanted her in her sleep so if the subconscious man I know like yes I'm forever indebted to Rev. talk about that difference is why do you think God puts that in us to be attracted to someone that doesn't think the way we think, is to get rid of our selfishness.

I think that's a part of it. I think it's to get ready yourself as teachers, refine each other, you know, I just, especially as Perry and I have been married longer and longer.

I just see so many aspects whether it's parenting or in social settings or whatever it is that we just are strengths and weaknesses are really designed to complement each other. I'm in the places where I tend to. You now have weaknesses in maybe not stand up for myself. Or maybe not say no overcome it, you know that's where Perio, and be lucky she's tell now I'll tell them it helps that it balances and I think God does that to create dominion of the two become one and ideally one balanced person and I think that works well when you got your different strengths.

It can also create great tension for sure.

It may not come out in the nice phase of your life dating look right through you maybe want.

Yes, shortly after marriage. Somewhere along the line, first year 30 or 50 or those things become more irritants we as married people manage them better understand that look.

You're not can build or control the person you married, you want to become one flesh.

But you've got to be able to take a deep breath and realize that God is created your mate in a different way than he created you one of the things I told myself early on in marriage after. I got married and I realized we were different in so many ways and sometimes I didn't understand what his priorities were, or especially when it comes to money, which is a whole other thing. How we want to spend money and what we thought was important in all those different things that I thought I really want to treat him the lab treat my best friend and it was that realization.

I should be trading my husband with that same kindness and that same sense of forgiveness because I realized I was so much more willing to overlook things in my best girlfriend that I was in my husband and I was holding him to a higher standard that ultimately I thought that's not fair. I mean, he's also my best friend in a different way. You know in just that I need to treat him with kindness and understanding of who he is and what's important to him that looking back when you Perry were courting each other. First of all, tell us a bit about how that came about, given that year, opposite, but how did that come about and did you not see those things in that context, until after you're married. I think that it's interesting we met for Texas A&M. We met at a Bible study there called breakaway and we just were friends, not just mutual acquaintances in the land ended up in San Antonio after graduation and that was when we were reintroduced in and Matt at that time and I knew you know he he was kind of different to me.

I mean his his family had gone up with ranches and he was an outdoorsman. His dad had been a big outdoorsman and said that was such a part of his life. My family's idea of an outdoor activity is golf that that's about where we rested on the golf course.

Maybe the tennis court. Sometimes you know that will have a cart now yeah now no guns know you know and so I needed that was part of his left it to me. It was interesting to go down there and and go to the ranch and and see wild hogs and deer in this whole world that I didn't really even know existed. Even I grew up in Texas too. I just had such a different city upbringing but I think in the way that girls do you tend to be more into all those differences when you're dating you know how I would love to get up at 5 AM and help with. You tell me more about that. You couldn't pay me to get that you know when you're dating you're willing to take one for the team and its later maybe it's a bait and switch. Maybe it's a little bit a little bit but it's accommodation.

And now you go out and hunt sometimes, but it just requires I need to bring my magazines with me and the temperature needs to be just right and I need to be preferably blind doesn't have bugs in the microwave helps to warm up your lot when you talk about that realization that maybe were different. I think you have a story or book on your honeymoon that difference came out you thought it would be what and then what did Perry expect a whole lot of things but I will tell you that the biggest of what what stood out to me was when we got on the plane. You know we were going to the Bahamas and we are to be at a resort for a week and so I bought a book because I'm a reader.

That's what I love to do and so I bought a nice I mean I'd researched well on your way something like that is probably nice but I brought it back and we got on the plane for our first leg of our flight and we got all settled in and I opened up my book. You know, we are at that point been together for 24 hours so you know you rehash the wedding and you talked and I was ready to read my book and he said what you doing. I'm reading anything to read, and he pulled out a Cabela's catalog catalog like this many times there the plane. I hadn't even I don't even think every was even on board yet done with what now do you really, really, I don't like to read books for two years like you would've thought that would've come up. We never we never, that is, tell me about your book run a three hour flight and I read on flights. That's what I do, but all of a sudden he was that passenger that you hate to sit next to Robinson. I met the most horrible passenger who doesn't like to read you know librarians and barbarians had some options. I think we end up doing like a crossword puzzle and maybe that kind of thing which I can't do but I pretended so funny. I know it's funny because she was a night person and I was a morning person that was a big distinction and you are having children changes that for woman and she's learned to accommodate early mornings and when things so she's everything now but were first married, and she would not talk before 10 o'clock. She was mad at me a day. Let's pray, you know, it sounds more to give us that strengthen and I hate let's let's know if I bow my head. I think I'm just the way we will find that middle ground where you can say okay here's were we can meet think it takes a while to find your rhythm and we had that same thing, night owl early-morning unit. In early part I'm a night out and I think it just takes some adjusting and adapting and figuring out what's important and you know and I learned early on he didn't care if I slept until 10 o'clock on weekends, you know, he's fine with that and I didn't care if he got up early. I think a lot of times it friction emerges rep right around that there is no solution to get better start resenting your spouse and you don't find solution you don't have a desire anymore. The relationship just become so brittle that nobody wants to invest in it any longer and then you wind up in counseling or on your way to divorce court even within the Christian community for you what, what's a sign that you need help let me know when you're there and you're in that situation, the opposites in the humerus. Perhaps no longer there.

Yeah, and that's become more like Babel. What does a woman do particular speak to that woman in that situation.

I think that's it's hard enough for me. That's what I really begin to pray and I just learned over the years that sometimes the trick is to act like I'm still in love.

Even if I don't feel like I'm still in love you and I think feelings can be so deceitful, you know, I think your feelings can lead you astray and you can just start to think while feel it and stuff. I don't feel at that time I can act on it and so I'm in a quit doing these acts of kindness are these things that I've done and sometimes I learned about asked the Lord to give me strength. Just come to power through and distill treat Perry the way that I know he wants to be treated and to respect him and to love him and to encourage him even if I don't necessary feel it, that a lot of times I feel it comes back around.

Sometimes it's just working through, and I think that you know what you learn and be in married for any amount of time is near highs and lows. I mean, I feel like you and I could go back of our marriage and if you looked at a map there, probably years that look like mountaintops in their years that look like valleys and you know both of those and if you can find a good level and sometimes that's just continuing to just love each other and encourage each other.

Even if you don't feel it in that moment because I think things take place in you with a woman I know you can have a million things on your mind you're right about your finances you're worried about what can be for dinner you write about how your kids are doing in school you're worried about your you know your community and your friends and your charts in your Bible study group and and it's hard to not let all those things Potlatch where you lose side of your marriage just to continue to make that a priority. Just ask God to give you the strength because sometimes you're not feeling it's only going to be by trusting him and letting him have Melanie Shea as our guest today on focus sharing some insightful and some funny stories as well from her book the antelope. We've got copies of that here the website. Just check the episode notes to learn, and it might be that along the way. Here we've touched on some tender issues to your marriage. If so, please reach out to us and let us connect you with one of her caring Christian counselors available to hear your story to pray with you and want you to additional resources even in your local area numbers 800 K word family 800-232-6459 no more for Melanie Schenkel on today's episode, Melanie. I so appreciate your humor in your heart. Let's touch on the really sticky issue in-laws talk about your experience with. I think it was a holiday you guys were coming together, you're just married right yes we had just been married, in-laws are such a tricky thing and I think that such a have to be careful because my mother-in-law's probably listening generically about your friend Sue will that's right that's right. And I love my mother-in-law but it's so hard because you got two different families that have been two different ways you know and and sometimes are just different, and what I had learned my husband's for the first Thanksgiving I spent with his family are one of the first I'd been with them a couple Thanksgiving's, but this was after we were married and I felt his mom does a very traditional Thanksgiving.

It is Turkey and dressing and green beans and roles and that's it but I like variety. I came from where everybody brought all these different dishes and there was green bean casserole and there was broccoli rice casserole and that was sweet had a casserole and I decided I missed the variety so I took it upon myself that I was to create a little of that at the next Thanksgiving and so I called my mother-in-law and asked if I could bring anything and she told me know what I would really like to bring broccoli rice casserole because it's my favorite and I miss it at holidays and some she's gracious and said that would be great. Well, my husband has a brother that seven years younger than him so and so at the time was you know, in his 20s and so I brought this my broccoli rice casserole and I said it in the middle and his brother what is that casserole he's like it smells.

What is that smell that cheese was in its cheese and it was just if you never had your study will have to post the recipe for this with its everything is cream of mushroom said you shouldn't eat. It makes the broccoli delicious and obviously have a little bit of its cheese in a jar wishes traditional dish that I was very excited with the fate of my people thought anybody else jump in at this point. Now nobody else in your lawn and allowed with my broccoli rice casserole. I said it was as if I had plopped a dead rat in the middle of the table and said here you got hope you all enjoy it. Moment to step up but he didn't feel he didn't step up on trying to remember. I knew he wouldn't like it.

It was like nobody mentioned it it was it was broccoli rice casserole in the living room and brought it back now I just make it for myself. I did the privacy of my house so it is, it's my comfort food. Nobody appreciated the cheese so I just different. You talk in your book about that idea of commitment to your vows and you know in this culture today. It's like a corporate slogan. Now you know we care or the customer's first week, take our marital vows.

In that same way some great but we really live up to them. Your send know there are things in that commitment that are holy, that are sacred when it comes this idea through sickness or health how if you had to deal with that in your marriage with marriage, it's just you do said as vows just part of what you say.

I think everybody can repeat the marriage vows and we know what they are, but what you're really doing is your you're taking on that person.

I mean, you're the two were becoming wine and if everyone would look at that before you ever get into marriage to realize what commitment that is and what you're vowing to do plumbing because you don't know what life is throw your way and I think that's it. On scene after our years of marriage is you say those things that you don't know what, in sickness and health means until one of you actually get sick and you gotta take care of him and you know you don't know what it means in. You know, for better or for worse than when that person is kind of unlovable and you don't like much. That day, but that you're going to stay committed. Anyway, it's so much beyond just a heart thing. It's gotta be head thing to stay engaged and to remember that you made a commitment for your family and before God and the truth and honor those valves because I think the world tells us that it can be disposable and you can walk away when it's not working, but I think that such a lie because having come from divorced home. You realize how so much of that is divorce may seem like an easy solution picture is ultimately open yourself up to just a whole other set of issues and problems in and things and it's not always.

It's not to be the easiest solution. Have some issues or do you have issues.

What have you speak from experience in that regard.

Well, one of the biggest things is with when we were up Perry's had some back issues. He's had some back problems so well it is you say, but I think there's some truth to that. Continually hoist up, you know, 200 pound deer at some point you may have. And you have not known for you not being smart about sometimes why they lift things get there to show off their raw brute strength enough so that helps. Around different asset that Perry had some back problems and so he's had three different back surgery since we've been married and it is that thing up there something very sobering about watching them get your husband prepped and preop, and knowing that he's going back and you know that is supposed to be a routine surgery but it's just health and you know and he has a landscape business were very dependent on his physical health for his income in his job and and you just realize it's a different deal like everybody's, even his family is now looking to me I'm the one in charge of his healthcare. On the one in charge of like making sure that he's can be taken care of and that this is gonna be all right and in finding him the help he needs to get better so truth broke my ankle from a motorcycle accident which will talk to a friend of mine as I was to stay off it certainly first few weeks I was the officer encroaches a couple times but they really want to be offered for the first, and remember friend brought over, partly as a sense of humor. He brought over a bell that I can bring when he brought it over. The scowl was well received by my by my wife that was a little bit rude but you know she was so great you know when you can get up if you think about this land. There and you can't get up for a drink of water constantly throughout the day, say honey can have another glass of water that can really get on you and she was so good about that. Just all the little things that she did. That's an illustration of what you gotta do in that moment I know some couples are suffering because it's prolonged. It's, whatever that might be.

You can grow weary in that the Lord is pleased and has a smilewhen you can show his character in that situation. Yes yes I think that's true, and I think that's just it. It's a tangible way of showing a lot for that person. You know that I'm well into serve you and be here and I want to walk you through this. The circumstances are always reminders to that it doesn't always turn out the way we plan.

We we you enter into marriage are both strong but equally strong and vibrant in those quarters, and that's kind of the test. What is this really all about.

Yeah I think that's the trail and I mean I think we experience that when I went through my miscarriage. Here's a guy when it was just such a hard time for me emotionally and physically and everything and for me that what we've been married five years but always look back at that point and think it was the first time that I realized almost the depth of how much. Loved me and cared for me because I wasn't happy smiling why you now I'm generally not the person but that he loved me when I was in bed, depressed and and can get out and that he walked me through that and encourage me and sometimes you need those moments in marriage because I think they need to together a little bit deeper when you enter something hard together some wise words from Melanie Schenkel today on focus on family about how you can survive and thrive in marriage through both the good and the difficult seasons of life, and as we mentioned, Melanie has captured her story in a pretty funny yet very meaningful book called the antelope in the living room. The real story of two people sharing one life. I so appreciate Melanie's honest reflections about navigating some significant differences with her husband.

And rather than letting their opposite likes and dislikes that drive them crazy, which we tend to do the shingles learn how to celebrate those differences and build a solid foundation for their marriage and for listeners. We want you to experience the same thing with your spouse, unity and leaning in together rather than pulling yourselves apart. That's why we provide programs like this one, and resources like Melanie's book. These are encouraging reminders about why God brought you together in the first place and what he wants to accomplish in your relationship. In fact, we heard from a listener named Felicia who was frustrated by how opposite she and her husband were then Felicia heard the program with Melanie and said it was as if you were in my home, sharing our same story and as a result, Felicia made a conscious decision to honor her husband even when she didn't agree or understand his perspective and she remembered all the times her husband showed care and love for her.

Which is great beyond their differences and that's what men can certainly do. That's why Focus on the Family is here to share real help with real families like Felicia send yours contact us today if you need help in your marriage. Don't wait and if you can support our marriage building efforts as well.

We need the generosity of friends like use of the together we can strengthen and rescue hurting couples if you can send a gift of any amount to Focus on the Family today will send your copy of Melanie's book the antelope in the living room as our way of saying thank you and our number is 800 232-645-9800 K in the word family also find details in the link there. One additional resource. We'd like to tell you about is our free online marriage assessment, which is great.

Very easy to use, takes just a few minutes to fill it out and get a good overview of what's working well in your relationship affirmation for the suggestions about ways to check out the preassessment resources for your marriage.

In the episode of Jim Daly and the entire team.

Thanks for joining us today for Focus on the Family I'm John Fuller inviting you back. As we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ and I knew my marriage was falling apart. I just did not affix. I felt like I would always be alone even if I stayed married at Focus on the Family's hope restored marriage intensive. We offer hope to couples in crisis so they can have the marriage they always dreamed for the first time I felt like my husband truly heard me. I received some great tools from the counselor said of change my life and my marriage to begin the journey of finding health go to hope today

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