The story goes of a man walking on the beach when a voice from heaven says, "My son, because you've tried to do what's right all your life, I'll grant you one wish."
The guy said, "Build me a bridge to Hawaii so I can drive over any time I want."
The voice responded, "Your request is very materialistic. Take a little more time and think this through."
The man thought for a while as he walked. Finally, he said, "Lord, I want to understand women. I want to know how they feel inside, what they're thinking when they give me the silent treatment, why they cry and what they mean when they say, 'nothing's wrong.' How can I make a woman truly happy?"
There was a profound silence. The voice replied, "You want two lanes or four lanes on that bridge?"
Let's be honest - the same thing goes for guys. While I gripe and moan about the cost to cut and color my five daughters' hair, I don't seem to bat an eye at dropping a chunk of money on a TV that replaces one that still works.
Men and women may always see things differently. That's OK. But how do you overcome those Pacific-sized differences?
DIFFERENT IS OK
Our third daughter Kate enjoys listening to hip-hop music. I listen to other stuff. When we're both in the car, we alternate. Sometimes we listen to hers, sometimes mine. It takes patience - for both parties. Occasionally, we even find stuff we both like. Sometimes I lose sight that it's the conversation in the car that's more important than the background music.
In the kitchen, our youngest daughter likes sweet treats. I tend to pig out on the salty stuff. Although we may opt for different desserts, we found we can BOTH enjoy caramel corn. You'd be surprised how many ways you can combine sweet and salty. You'd also be surprised how much you have in common with people who think differently.
GIVE AND TAKE
My wife goes all out on the holidays. From the outside lights to the decked out tree, I feel like I come home from work to a North Pole satellite office. Me? I'm more of a minimalist. My idea for Christmas decorations is one bowl of red and green M & M's. So how do we compromise? We don't. She wins, crafty hands down. You don't need to meet in the middle all the time.
It's taken me too long in life to realize that arguing details is a complete waste of time. Address the differences, but keep it in perspective. I may never see everything eye-to-eye with the six females in our house, but that's not so bad. They've opened my eyes to a mother load of viewpoints; many of which I've had time to ponder while waiting for a bathroom to free up on Sunday mornings.
After 23 years and a million mistakes on the highway of life, what have I learned? Be patient, find common ground, don't be afraid of change and BRIDGE those differences.