By Kristi Bothur © 2012

"Live with your wives in an understanding way..." 1 Peter 3:7 (NASB)

Boys and girls are different.

Such a basic fact of life, but so easy to forget, especially when we are in a crisis situation and expect those around us not only to understand how we feel, but also to feel the same way. And yet, there is nothing like a crisis to highlight those differences in how we react to stress and life's challenges.

When my husband and I went through a season of loss and illness several years ago, the best advice I got was from a bereavement counselor who told me, "Men and women grieve differently, and that's okay. You need to let each other deal with this in your own way." "This" was the loss of our baby girl in my second trimester of pregnancy, and my way of dealing with it was to cry, to read, to write, and to talk - a lot. Words help me to analyze and make sense of things that don't make sense.

My husband's way was different. He would
listen to me, but he didn't have the same desire to talk everything out. He put his energy into serving our family - taking care of me as I healed, taking care of our home, our one-year-old, his job and church responsibilities, often going to bed late at night, worn out from caring for us. There were many times I interpreted his works of service as unemotional and busy instead of the acts of love that they were. I expected his grief and stress to mimic mine. But they didn't - and they didn't need to. God made us different, and he put us together to complement each other and support each other.

The apostle Peter exhorted husbands to "live with your wives in an understanding way...so that your prayers will not be hindered." Wives would do well to follow this command, too. In hard times, we need to give each other grace to respond to circumstances in our own unique ways - always honoring the Lord, but also true to the way we are each wired. When we do, we will find the strength to support each other and to pray for one another as we travel the road we are on.

Father, this road I am on has been so difficult, and the man (woman) I am counting on for support is dealing with it so differently than I am! Help me to understand him (her) and not to have unrealistic expectations. And help me to rely on you above all else. Amen.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kristi Bothur is a pastor's wife, teacher, and mother of five - two on earth and three in heaven. She has a heart for other women who have experienced the loss of children during pregnancy or in early infancy, and she has a passion for sharing the truth of God's word in a way that makes sense in everyday life. She and her husband are the founders of "Naomi's Circle", a ministry for parents of babies in heaven (www.naomiscircle.weebly.com). You are welcome to contact her at naomiscircle@gmail.com. Kristi lives in Columbia, South Carolina, with her husband, daughter, and son.

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