How Many Values Can One Marriage Hold?

One morning not too long ago, in a natural response these words at the end of Psalm 13—I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me—I grabbed my iPhone, tapped on the app Bill installed and taught me to navigate, and within seconds began whisper-singing to God with masterful help from Phil Wickham. (Download The Ascension today. You can thank me later.)

The sound quality was rich and glorious and the volume exactly modulated to early morning in a house where other people were sleeping.

Yes, God has dealt bountifully with me.

He has given me a husband with a value system that is not the same as mine. There are tests to prove this, tests we sometimes administer to new couples who are just beginning a life together. After all these years, we don’t really need the tests though.

We already know that I care about correct bath-towel-folding technique, about lighting, about what food looks like on a plate, about not being on time to someone’s house for dinner, about buying gifts, and about making sure there’s enough party in my week. Bill cares about looking a select few people in the eye regularly and letting them talk as long as they need to, about keeping up with football scores however he can, about categorizing every dollar we spend on, about never, ever imposing on others when he could do whatever needs doing himself. These are the things, some of them banal, that we’re willing to spend time and money and energy on. They are the things we notice if they are out of place. What we care about.

If you are married, there are most likely some values your spouse holds to rather fiercely that you do not. And some of these values—like form and function or spending and saving—can create incessant tug of war in your marriage. But what if his insistence on a certain value could add value to your life? What if her commitment to her values could enrich your home?

Bill is a newly-minted audiophile. He cares about sound. I barely know how to turn the volume up or down on any of the soundmaking contraptions in our house. The other day as Bill rhapsodized about our evolving sound system and his saving and spending plan for it, I found myself wanting to question him, to wonder out loud if this techie, expensive, extravagant (to me) outlay of cash was wise. I’m glad I stopped myself. Just because he values something that I don’t doesn’t mean I should judge.

And then today I danced to the lovely resonance of a value system that is totally different from my own.

And I realized how bountifully God has dealt with me. He gave me a husband whose different values give me experiences I would never have if the only set of values in this house were mine. Now that, I value.




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