My girlfriend Shannon and I will have officially been dating for 17 months two weeks from today. I still can hardly believe it's been that long, it seems like the time really has flown. It has been very obvious from the beginning that we have many differences in our interests and personalities. This particularly comes out in regards to music. I went to school specifically to study music, and I love analyzing the music I listen to. I'm even about to start a career (Lord-willing) of working with music in the church, and I am constantly listening to new music to determine if it's well-suited for congregational worship or not. Shannon is very different. She has an excellent singing voice and even received a scholarship to study music at The Master's College, but she doesn't enjoy studying music at all. Her real academic passion is in literature. She rarely listens to music unless she needs to practice for a choir piece or I give her a mix CD. (:P)
There is nothing wrong with this contrast between us. Not everyone is going to feel the same way about everything. It's nice for the two of us to see the other side of the spectrum. Yet even in this contrast we have one major thing in common: When we are singing or making music in church (or in chapel at TMC), we are very obviously passionate. That is because we are passionately worshipping our Lord and Savior through the musical gifts He has given us.
That is the primary commonality, the thing that unifies us as a couple. Not just in music, but in all of life, we are striving to serve the Lord more passionately and fervently with each day. I honestly believe that our differences have really strengthened our relationship and our spiritual lives immensely. As evidenced by our "intake" of music, we view things from very different perspectives. We each get a glimpse into a different viewpoint from our own, and it can help solidify in our minds what we believe in regards to a certain subject.
For instance, I tend to be a rather impulsive thinker. I usually jump in with both feet or I don't jump in at all. But Shannon is more methodical, looking at all angles of a situation, wading in at a slower pace. Many times she has stopped me from making a rash decision by reminding me of certain facts surrounding what I'm about to do. (I have also learned from that and kept her from jumping into things too rashly, a characteristic I'm sure she got from me.)
Because of our love for Christ, we embrace these differences between us. There's no point in holding such things against one another; we can't change the other's personality. It's prideful and selfish to think that we can or even should. I love Shannon because of her personality (as well as many other things), and I would never want to change that. While I may not enjoy Victorian literature or The Biggest Loser as much as she does, I can appreciate it and ask her about it so that I can understand why she loves it so much (much in the same way that she tolerates my love for the Boston Red Sox).
These past 16 1/2 months have really been wonderful in teaching me more about Shannon, about myself, and about the love of Christ. I am seeking to care for her as much as I can in this stage of our relationship by showing her the love of Christ and serving her to the best of my ability. I have not always done this well; in fact, earlier this week I was reminded of a particular moment when I failed miserably. Just another reminder that I am not perfect and won't be in this lifetime. But the Lord has taught me much about love and service through moments like that. I have spent many occasions on my knees asking for the Lord's strength to continue to serve Him, and part of that is serving Shannon to the best of my ability as we both seek to serve and worship the Lord every day.
A simple servant of the Master.