When it comes to diversity, we often play differences up for more than they’re worth and minimize commonalities that have great value. We see this in race relations, age group relations…gender relations. Whether we’re playing up the differences or playing down the similarities, we tend to pit the groups against each other, developing that famous “us vs. them” mentality. More often than not, that mentality serves to set the relationship up for failure more than for success.

One of the reasons we have such a high divorce rate in America is because too many people go into marriage with a “me vs. you” mentality (a simple variation of “us vs. them”), even if only on a subconscious level. One  or both partners assume that by virtue of the fact that he/she is a member of his/her gender, the one they’re going to develop the most intimate of relationships with is inferior to him/her. How do we truly unite, become one, fully embrace each other when one or both partners has this attitude? How do we fully persuade ourselves that our partner is worthy of us while, at the same time, we’re convinced that he/she is inferior to us?

I believe we lay the foundation for a successful marriage when both partners realize the destructive nature of the “us vs. them” or “me vs. you” mentality and consciously, deliberately, and cooperatively open themselves up to seeing the good in their partner and truly admiring those qualities. When both determine to give and receive some level of affection and move closer to each other (in heart and soul) rather than allow dispositions of superiority to allow even unrealized distance of heart and soul to prevent them from sincerely uniting.

I plan to look at some of the similarities men and women have when I revisit this topic. In the meantime, tell us what you’ve done (or think can be done) to help make our marriages strong.