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by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie

I recently married someone who I thought was just like me. We are similar in so many ways. But with time I have begun to notice significant differences in various areas. Some of these newly discovered dissimilarities I actually dislike. I am afraid of how this might develop in the future and of the potential damage to the relationship. Any thoughts?

When we pursue any relationship we look for commonality. We are attracted to compatibility, common goals, shared values and similar likes and dislikes. You certainly don't marry someone because they operate on a totally different wavelength. But at the same time no two people on the planet are the same. As the Talmud states: Just as no two people look identical there are no two human beings that think alike.

The opportunity and beauty of relationships is the ability to extend ourselves and make room for another, entering a world that is so different to ours. After the period of self-discovery as children we then learn how to relate, connect and bond with people who think differently than we do, feel differently, see the world in another way and who have different skills and talents. We are given the opportunity to become enriched by these new perspectives and realities.

In other words what creates the relationship in the first place is what is common between us. But the true benefit, depth and beauty of the relationship comes from what is different between us. What we learn from each other is what we don't have ourselves. We learn to adopt new perspectives, new ideas, and new experiences. We become better people and our personalities become stronger and more refined from these new realities.

Your shared values and goals that you began with are the strong foundation of your marriage. Now learn to appreciate and value the newly found differences and your relationship will blossom from them not despite them.

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