We were selling a house in an older affluent area of town a few years ago. After looking at all the math found in the comparable sales, the number I thought the house should sell for and the number the realtor thought it would take “to move the house in this market” was about $50,000 apart.
I remember doing the math in my head. Her commission at the “move well” rate was about $12,000. Her commission at the “it might take a little longer” level was $13,500. To get the commission possibly a little quicker and/or easier would cost her about $1,500. It would cost me $48,500. To her, the difference between the two wasn’t that material, to me it was incredibly material. She felt the $50k number at a 3% level and I felt it the other 97%.
I tried to illustrate the difference and she didn’t seem to understand my perspective. We were looking at the very same situation with very different eyes and through very different filters.
Have you ever had that experience?
If you are married, I know you have. Before I learned to understand and appreciate the incredibly valuable and unique perspective my wife brings to nearly every situation, I simply saw her perspective as wrong. I could not see past my own opinion, born of my experience, to value hers. Understanding that she not only carries a different set of lenses, but that God ordained it that way to powerfully balance me and my determinations, has completely changed our marriage. We agreed deeply on all the things that really mattered, but tended to focus on the small ways we didn’t.
It has not come easily and I still struggle with fully honoring this “gift,”but I’ve made a lot of progress.
All of this is serving as a set and backdrop for the play unfolding in front of me with a couple I am meeting for breakfast. There is some level of frustration between the two of them as I tilt into some sensitive areas. They are clearly not on the same page on a couple of issues. The conversation is a little tense, but still very amicable.
The more I talk to them, the more I came to understand the reality of their relationship:
- They love one another.
- They are deeply committed to each other and their family.
- They seem to actually like and enjoy one another.
- They believe in the same things.
- They hope for the same things.
Just as God intended it.
Said another way, when you look at their hopes, dreams, desires, and beliefs, there was about a 97% overlap. But as we talked, they seemed to be focusing mostly on the 3% where they weren’t on the same page. They wanted and desired the same things, but there was just a little bit of noise on what they needed to do to get there.
Why is that? The deck is incredibly stacked against us.
- Our traditional idea of marriage is on the ropes.
- Our enemy hates everything marriage represents spiritually.
- Joy is considered the byproduct of self-actualization, not committed sacrifice.
- Marriage is a temporary, not permanent transaction, too easily discarded.
If we focus entirely on the 3% (if that is our reality), convergence seems impossible. But if our primary reality is the 97%, with only 3% of noise separating perfect alignment, working toward resolution seems completely probable. Like the well-worn ruts of a vehicle driven path, this couple is on a long journey in a similar direction, slightly apart, with the two paths seemingly blurring into one in the future.
How are you moving toward convergence with your spouse?
How are you moving toward convergence with your partners or team?
Is your reality more about the percentage that separates you or the likely larger percentage where you are aligned?
Is it time to claim and celebrate the 97% as the necessary step toward addressing the 3%?