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A musical symphony embodies structure, order, and precision – each note meticulously written and executed, whereas jazz represents boundless freedom – the ability for improv and to be spontaneous in the moment. And while our way of being tends to gravitate toward one or the other, both have their place and we should respect these differences in each other.

To be sure, some relish in knowing the exact score to play in tackling life’s challenges. And when left up to them every note in life would be planned ahead and played beautifully in order. On the other hand, some are more free-spirited and relish in riffing off the circumstances of each moment. For them, joy comes through creating something unique in each performance.

To be fair, most of us fall somewhere in between these two extremes. But our differences can still lead to many misunderstandings. 

For instance, we might assume others are just lazy and immature when they’re not as structured as we are. Or we might conclude that they’re stuck-up and suffocatingly stiff when they can’t just go with the flow. 

In reality, both approaches can bring much good when in balance, and both can bring harm when overextended. We need structure and freedom. And it’s a great opportunity, albeit very frustrating as well, whenever we find ourselves in a relationship with someone who is our opposite. Together we can learn how to establish meaningful rhythms that honor both of our approaches. 

For example, we might compose a score that allows time for musical precision and time for improvisation. There might be relational checkpoints and timelines, but a lot of freedom in between these points. This allows the structured person not to feel too overwhelmed in the unknown, and those who are more spontaneous not to feel too burdened and restricted. 

In the end, learn the value of symphonic jazz – the ability to blend structure and spontaneity throughout your life and relationships. 

Photo by Jens Thekkeveettil on Unsplash

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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