By Lavern Nissley
Before Abraham Lincoln became President in 1861 he gave a memorable speech that came to be known as "House Divided". It was essentially a no compromise speech attacking the possibility of a half slave, half free United States. "A house divided against itself cannot stand", Lincoln proclaimed as he quoted Jesus' words centuries earlier.
In the aftermath of two horrible mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton polarization and escalation have increased between left and right. I wonder what President Lincoln would say about today's political landscape. Certainly there are issues that divide Americans at a level that slavery did in the 1800's. (See optional extra reading at end of blog for more texture on this.)
First, let me distinguish between "differences" and "divided".
It is possible to have differing preferences, yet not to be divided. Ronda and I are quite different on the introversion-extroversion scale. Her preference is not to be stopping to chat with everyone. Mine is a bit different. When we're in a restaurant, for example, I intentionally scan all the tables to see if there is anyone I know -- for the express purpose of at least going to say "hi"! Even on a date!
Although this has created conflict between us at times, it has not risen to the level of division where we attack, invalidate and demonize the other. Regrettably, division has appeared to become the norm in America.
And I fear that we're on the verge of another civil war (at least culturally) here in "the home of the brave and land of the free".
Regardless of where you land in this division of deeply held national values and preferences, we don't have to have divided couple, family or organizational relationships. Perhaps you've already experienced what it feels like for a "divided house to fall" through ruptured relationships.
Let's go as far as we can in valuing our differences without crossing the line into division.
We're here to help couples, families and organizations do just that. Here's a quick way to connect with us for a 45 minute complimentary meeting to discuss your story: https://www.encompasscc.org/connect.html
Optional extra reading from Springfield News Sun, 8/14/19
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.