Day 4: Differences in Relationships
You have looked at the concept of clarity in relationships, and you have written a mission statement for a significant relationship in your life. You have identified obstacles to growth in your relationships and ways to move beyond this congestion. Now you are ready for alignment, making certain that all you do moves you toward the accomplishment of your purpose.
Goals cannot be accomplished and missions cannot be fulfilled when persons in relationships are not aligned with each other. In relationships the failure to align usually doesn’t mean one party is right and the other party is wrong. Instead, it could mean that persons in a relationship see things from different perspectives.
In the simple surveys of more than a thousand men and women across America, we found that many times relationships were solid because people were all on the same page. Husbands and wives saw things from the same perspective. Friends had similar values. Coworkers had common goals. And neighbors saw the same needs in their neighborhood. If we don’t acknowledge the reality of different perspectives, they can keep relationships out of alignment. Let’s look at some common reasons alignment doesn’t take place in relationships.
Men and Women Are from Different Planets
Many times male and female perspectives are vastly different, so often both parties know they are right and the other person is wrong. Yet we found that the issue is more often one of perspective.
The gender breakdown for the study was 465 males and 612 females. Though the females had an edge in the number of respondents (57 percent to 43 percent), the sample size of each gender group was sufficient to give some pretty fascinating insights into the different perspectives between men and women.
40% of mothers feel they spend enough time with their children.
20% of fathers feel they spend enough time with their children-
55% of mothers feel they know their Children.
47% of fathers feel they know their children.
45% of mothers feel it is important to teach their Children how to have a relationship with Goal.
31% of fathers feel it is important to teach their children how to have a relationship with Goal.
68% of mothers make efforts to he better parents.
59% of fathers make efforts to he better parents.
For example, let’s look at the relationships between mothers and children and then fathers and children. Although few parents believe they are perfect in their parenting skills, mothers are more likely than fathers to be confident that they are doing OK. The percentage of mothers who strongly agreed they were spending enough one-on-one time with their children was double the percentage of fathers who expressed strong agreement with that statement. That difference is statistically significant and relationally staggering. Fathers were also more likely to sacrifice family for work, while working moms tended to sacrifice work for family.
When both parents were asked whether they knew their children well, the responses were not surprising. Because mothers were more likely to give time to their children, they were also more likely to know their children well.
Generally, the women in the study tended to he more religious, and more were specifically Christian than men. It is therefore no surprise that the females in our study were more likely to teach their children how to have a relationship with God. Again, the difference between the two is significant both statistically and relationally. These responses show that men and women have different perspectives on parenting.
Discuss with your spouse your views of the following areas of parenting and note ways your responses differ.
Amount of time you spend with your children:
Spiritual instruction of the children;
Efforts to he a better parent;
Identity and discuss any adjustments the two of you can make to align your parenting with your goals for the children.
Gender differences are not limited to parenting perspectives in relationships. They also hold true for views of the strength of the marriage perceptions of physical affection, and quality of sex life.
62% of wives strongly agree they have a strong marriage.
54% of husbands strongly agree they have a strong marriage.
51% of wives strongly agree their spouse is physically affectionate.
40% of husbands strongly agree their spouse is physically affectionate.
41% of wives are satisfied with the quality of their sex lives.
35% of husbands are satisfied with the quality of their sex lives.
These statistics reinforce the obvious: men and women are different They have different perspectives and different needs. Sometimes they are on the same page, but oftentimes they are not. I’m are not suggesting that relationship alignment means men and women should become relational clones. On the contrary, we celebrate our differences. But I am suggesting that men and women should be aware of and appreciate their differences. In dating relationships. In marriages. In sibling relationships.
The research gives a glimpse of the problems that can occur when matters of faith become misaligned. In the survey approximately 79 percent said they were Christians, while 21 percent said they were not Christians. The differences between the two groups were significant on relationship issues, particularly when it comes to teaching children
about God and moral values.
Misalignment occurs in a relationship when one or both parties are not truly committed to the relationship. The survey saw some correlation between demographic profiles and the level of commitment to a marriage. For example, when it asked the respondents whether they would marry their same spouse if they had to do it over again, the differences were significant. More wives than husbands strongly agreed they would marry the same spouse if they could do it over again. Overall, one of three married persons expressed doubt they would marry the same person if they had the chance to do it over again.
69% of wives strongly agree they would marry the same spouse again.
60% of husbands strongly agree they would marry the same spouse again.
66% of Christians strongly agree they would marry the same spouse.
54% of non-Christians strongly agree they would marry the same spouse.
The simple life in relationships requires alignment. Unfortunately, many marriages aren’t aligned because commitment is lacking. This commitment issue is not limited just to marriages. The same issue is present in other relationships as well. Alignment can’t take place in relationships unless there is true commitment.
Misalignment in relationships also takes place if there is not sufficient time for the relationship to grow. Because we studied time and the simple life last week, we will not stay on this point long.
of all the married persons in our surveys, 43 percent strongly agreed and 41 percent somewhat agreed they needed to spend more time with their husbands or wives. Simple math tells us that 84 percent is a pretty strong indicator.
Relationships are misaligned if there is not sufficient time for them to grow. Simple enough. Name one thing you can do to have more time for the relationship you have chosen to focus on this week.
The Money Issue
Money differences and money problems can really cause problems in relationships, particularly within immediate families. Volumes have been written about it. Seminars abound. People make their living advising about it. But money problems still exist. In fact, money problems are pervasive. It’s such an important issue for the simple life that I will devote a whole week’s study to it (week 4).