When Stuart and I got married, we thought we knew each other pretty well. But barely 24 hours after our wedding, we both began to realize we’d married a stranger!

I guess in lots of ways we already knew we were cut from different cloth—but as we got on with married life, somehow our differences seemed to become troublesome.

Perhaps you’ve experienced that, too—the things that intrigued or attracted you to your spouse during courtship then become the very things that can irritate and annoy once you’re married!

It’s a serious issue. After all, “irreconcilable differences” is one of the prime reasons that couples divorce.

So what do we do about our differences? Here are three principles Stuart and I have learned over the years:

First, we recognize that differences matter to God. He made us different, and for good reason—that we should help, complement, and strengthen one another to the glory of the Lord.

Second, we learn to appreciate our differences. You’ll need a sense of humor! That’s been one of the bedrocks of our marriage—the ability to laugh with one another and experience the healing that humor achieves.

And third, we come to understand our differences. This takes time as we learn to communicate with honesty and integrity.

It’s not always easy... or perfect... but it’s worth it! As you and your spouse understand and appreciate your differences, you’ll discover a reason to thank God for them!