The Magic of Differences

By Judith Sherven, Ph.D. & James Sniechowski, Ph.D.

Can love succeed based on the differences between two people instead of just what they have in common? Definitely! In fact, the only way we truly feel loved is through the trust we build knowing that our spouse or partner loves us for the real person that we are, distinctly different from them.

You see, no matter how much two people have in common -- religion, politics, race, financial status, whatever -- when they enter into a relationship they soon discover the many ways they are different from one another. Everyone knows that. But most of us don't know what to do with the differences. We're frightened or threatened by them. We use them to trash each other and battle in endless power struggles. So, we damage or destroy what might otherwise be very good relationships. That doesn't have to be!

With a simple change in perspective, those very same differences can become the doorway to the deepest intimacy and the sweetest spiritual meaning a relationship can offer. You can transform differences into the catalysts for change, personal growth and ongoing adventure instead of a recipe for disaster and heartache. Those very same differences can be like the sand in an oyster -- irritating and sometimes very difficult -- but necessary to create the pearl.

You can put the magic of differences into your own love life -- or with your children, friends, or business associates, for that matter -- by keeping in mind that the other person is not you. As obvious as that sounds, most people unconsciously expect others to be just like them. We all do that.

But when you shift your perspective, your partner's opinions, feelings and behaviors can't be "wrong" or "ridiculous." They are just different. Your partner values his or her ways just as you value yours. Now, the spiritual richness of your relationship can unfold as you both become sincerely curious about each other. You no longer assume you already know what each other means and you don't take each other's moods for granted. Instead, if you value your relationship, you must stay open to learning more about how your partner is, through and through. Then each of you will become more connected, more present, awake and alive.

If discovering and defining who you are as individuals and who you are together is the goal of your relationship, it becomes magical, just like love is supposed to be. It's not tricky magic, entertaining, but ultimately an illusion. It is real magic, beautiful in its realness and meaning. It is the magic of differences, and your relationship acts as the container and catalyst for your evolution in spiritual understanding, experience, practice and power.

That is what waits in the magic of differences and it can be yours!

Husband and wife psychology team, Judith & Jim are the best selling authors of "The New Intimacy" and "Opening to Love 365 Days a Year." Visit their web site

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