Shared Purpose

Additional Information for Chapter 12, page 195

As Elizabeth and I have worked with this material over the years we have discussed whether matching essence qualities or shared passionate purpose represents the greatest single factor in marital compatibility.  The discussion is moot, however, because shared passions are going to be among your essence qualities.  In that sense, discovering shared passionate goals is simply a outgrowth of the matching-essence-qualities process.

In the lives and marriages we highlight in the final two pages of The Compatibility Code, in each instance the couples shared a passionate goal: for the Durants it was writing the most celebrated history ever, to the Grahams to evangelize the world for Christ, for the Curies to explore and apply laws of chemistry and physics, to the Lewis’s the pursuit of spiritual and literary expression, to the Schumanns the creation of exquisite music and to the Brownings expression of beauty through poetry.

Zig Ziglar stated that if you have a goal that you are passionate about the barriers that appear as mountains to others are pebbles on the beach to you.  Let’s illustrate by citing one of the lives of the couples we just mentioned.

Robert (1809-1855) and Clara (1819-1897) Schumann provide a good example: During the course of their initial acquaintance, their courtship and eventual marriage they faced many barriers. Professor Weick, Clara’s father was a harsh and dictatorial man. Robert was one of his students and they got on well enough until Robert expressed interest in Clara. From then on the father tried in every possible way to keep the two apart, to prevent them from marrying, and continued to be a severely disruptive influence during the entire course of their marriage. [in all fairness, Professor Weick was a brilliant piano teacher]. During the course of their marriage they suffered financial challenges, conflicts with superiors, Clara bore seven children during the first nine years of their marriage, frequent illness, and eventual insanity for Robert during the final two years of his life.  Yet through it all Robert continued to compose and Clara continued to perform. Clara premièred everything that Robert wrote that involved a piano. Having read the detailed biography of Clara, a love that overcame obstacle after obstacle is revealed. Well over 100 years after their deaths Robert still graces the honor role of legendary composers and Clara is still considered one of the greatest piano performers in history.

The challenges Robert and Clara Schumann were required to overcome are far more severe than anything we are likely to encounter.  But overcome they did because of a shared passion (music) that fueled their love for each other that lasted a lifetime.

But you don’t have to be famous for the same principles to apply.  My brother Kent and his wife Leonda are missionaries in Paliwan, Philippines, and are passionate about benefiting the natives they work with. Their marriage is rock solid.

The list of possible shared passions is so extensive that it is foolish to even come up with examples.  You name any object of passion for someone, you are sure to find some opposite-sexed person who shares that same passion.  It represents an outstanding foundation for a lengthy friendship, and, if other factors fit, an excellent marriage.

Elizabeth and I share a passion for helping people to have exceptional marriages.  We share that passion so strongly that many issues in our life that might seem daunting to someone else are rarely seen that way by us.  When we have a conflict (and we do fairly frequently) we focus on resolving it and then continue on the mission that we trust God has given us.

Someone once said, “People don’t have bad days, they have bad moments that they nurse all day.” We refuse to be victim of that type of thinking.  An issue between Elizabeth and myself is typically resolved and forgotten ten minutes later.  We are unwilling that the distresses and irritations common to all couples should defeat us in our chosen passion.

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