In chapter 9 of Longing to Love, “When We Finally Arrived at the Same Place,” we see how Tim and Sue were of different minds on adoption. First, they were at different places when it came to being concerned about pregnancy; Sue became concerned right away, and Tim didn’t. This is not so unusual in a marriage. Often one person is the “worrier” and the other person is the “optimist.”
Sometimes, though, optimism is a cover for avoidance. When a person says, “Oh, everything will be fine,” what he or she might be saying is, “I really don’t want to think about this right now” or “If everything isn’t fine, then I don’t know what to do about it.”
Also, the person who appears to be worried may not be anxious but simply wanting to prepare for action. When he or she says, “I’m getting concerned about this,” the real meaning might be, “Obviously, something is wrong, and we need to discuss this” or “I have a plan for this problem, and I want you to be my partner-in-action.”
Even couples whose love is mature are rarely at the same place at the same time. And because they are in different places, the need for communication is critical. The need for honesty is critical, too. It’s best not to think in terms of one person being right and the other wrong. What is more helpful is the attitude that each person comes at life’s dilemmas in a unique way—and those two unique ways can work together for the best way.
Discuss these questions: Which of you is the first to identify problems in your life together? When that problem is presented in conversation, how does the other person respond? Which of you is the first to express fear, anxiety, or caution? Which of you is the first to start working on a solution? How does this affect your relationship in general?