Nancy Moser

Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of over twenty inspirational novels. Her genres include contemporary stories including John 3:16 and Time Lottery, and historical novels of real women-of-history including Just Jane (Jane Austen) and Washington's Lady (Martha Washington). Her newest historical novel is Masquerade. Nancy and her husband Mark live in the Midwest. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She gives Sister Circle Seminars around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She is a fan of anything antique—humans included. Find out more at and and her historical blog:

Egos At Fifty Paces

I wish that all men were as I am.
But each man has his own gift from God;
one has this gift, another has that.
I Corinthians 7:7 (NIV)

Opposites attract—and often stick. I know. For the past thirty-five years my husband, Mark, and I have attracted, distracted, and counteracted each other.

We don’t like the same things. He likes roller coasters . . . the drop of the escalator at the mall is thrill enough for me. He likes hot weather. . . I don’t do summer. He likes movies with car chases and special effects. I prefer boy-girl chases and romantic finesse.

While we were dating, we had no idea our tastes were so diverse. Adhering to proper dating etiquette, we molded our individual preferences to the other’s desires. I pretended to like baseball and Mark teased me into thinking he craved doing the Hustle like John Travolta. With innocent accommodation, I tried smothered steak and he tried creamed tuna on toast. I tried to watch golf (it was a good chance to nap) and he tried to watch figure skating (he did like the short skirts).

It was done with the best of intentions but with mixed results—I learned to like smothered steak and he learned to tolerate creamed tuna on toast. Kind of. When we became engaged, we let a few of our true opinions loose. But not a lot. Our main goal was to please each other.

With marriage came reality. Relentlessly it pushed gaga love off its pedestal and peppered it with utility bills and shared chores. Reality let Mark discover that my hair has a natural tendency to turn out when it’s supposed to turn in. Reality let me witness his favorite jeans in all their hole-i-ness. Reality let us realize that on our budget, macaroni and cheese was not a side dish but an entrée.

As the newlywed manners wore off, self-pity moved in like a pesky relative. We made valiant efforts to kick it out, only to have it sneak in the backdoor, lugging with it doubt and frustration. For all Mark’s good qualities—and there were many—I wondered why God hadn’t matched me with a man who yearned to dance the night away as he crooned Johnny Mathis tunes in my ear. And Mark had to wonder why he hadn’t been paired with a woman who came alive in the scorching heat of summer at a baseball game that went extra innings.

Occasionally, logic seized control, making us see the advantages of our differences. I never had to worry about Mark snarfing down the rocky road ice cream, and he never had to worry about me taking a single bite of his vanilla unless it was drowning in hot fudge. He could never accuse me of losing his Garth Brooks album, and my John Denver cassette was entirely my own.

Yet through the years, as ego matched ego, we clung to the underlying vibration that “my way is better than yours.” We held on to the belief that the characteristics that made ourselves unique were our “identities” while the characteristics that made our spouse unique were merely “quirks.” Big heads and large shoulder chips prevailed. We chose to forget what Scripture thought of such matters: “‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.’ For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends” (2 Cor. 10:17–18).

When our three children were little, they were the objects of our tug-of-war. You will like softball. No, ballet! We’ll spend our vacation at the lake. No, the mountains! Poor babies. No wonder they have such long arms. Yet it was their influence that helped us bury our egos in an unmarked grave.

When the kids got old enough to have an opinion (when they were much, much too young), we discovered that Emily loved the stomach wrenchings of roller coasters, Carson thrilled to the crack of ball against bat, and Laurel didn’t move across a room without marking a beat. Emily liked angel food, Carson liked

chocolate, and Laurel liked broccoli (a true individualist). But instead of being “wrong,” we found these vast differences in our children refreshing. Exciting.

If we accepted the differences in our children, why couldn’t we accept the differences in each other? The apostle Peter said, “Love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8). The sins we had. But what about the depth of our love? Was there a way to find sweet fruit in our sour grapes?

The first step was to put away our weapons: our egos. When we stopped fighting the ways we were different, we suddenly saw how our varied interests added to the diversity of our lives. Because of me, Mark experienced Mozart, Sondheim, and Gershwin. And because of him, I learned the nuances of a curve ball, a bunt, and cotton candy. I Corinthians 12:4–6 says: “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.” Neither talent nor interest was better than the other. God could use both of us in a unique way. And He did. Because Mark and I have different talents and interests, our children enjoyed a vast breadth of experience.

In addition, when we kept our egos in check, we noticed how our strengths balanced each other’s weaknesses; our pros offset each other’s cons. My energy balanced Mark’s procrastination. His deliberate ways balanced my gusts of impulsiveness. His stubbornness . . . matched mine.

It’s all a matter of perspective, of copping the right attitude. The key is to move beyond the natural inclination to compete and remember we’re on the same team.

We don’t sweat the differences anymore, although I still prefer "Sense and Sensibility" to "Avatar". We know these differences exist for a purpose. Along with our love, God has given us unique gifts, identities, and qualities to share. It would be shameful not to use them, appreciate them. With time we’ve learned to “Be at peace with each other” (Mark 9:50).

Our differences don’t take away from our life together; they add to it. The sum of our lives makes a better whole. A whole marriage.

So in this month of love, set aside your ego and take a look at how you love and are loved. Then make it better.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (I Cor. 13:13).


Nancy Moser