My Husband And I Are Opposites
We are Opposites
My husband and I are opposites. Without a doubt, it's true. But we are happy. Don't believe me? Ask my sister. Or the kids. Or the neighbours. (They used to hear us fighting.)
My husband and I met in that most modern of ways: online, on the Internet. We were both "kind of looking," with one foot dipped cautiously and tepidly into the pools of dating, both still too nervous from our prior relationships to pursue the possibility of a love interest too vigorously.
In fact, after I sent a "smile" in his way on that silly matchmatching site, I swore I would swear off Internet dating sites forever. It was wasting my time, which could have been spent any number of more productive ways, like cleaning my house or going to the gym.
When he smiled back and left a little note, I was intrigued. What was someone 1000 miles away doing responding to my advertisement? And he actually looked normal, and not slightly creepy.
Dating Online Is Risky
At First, We Seemed to Have A lot In Common
Our first conversation did not reveal the fact that we are opposites. At first sound, we seemed to have a great deal in common. We were both believers. We both worked hard. We both loved kids. In fact, for that first month, we actually talked for hours on the phone. I had not talked this much to a boy since being a teenager! I was high, thrilled. All my defenses were going out the door, and I hadn't even met him yet!
And I did not know yet that we were opposites. That would come after a few conversations. The first hint of being opposites was when he talked about his music. He mentioned something about a song by Ozzy Osbourne. I had to check my earpiece to make sure I wasn't hearing things. "You like heavy metal?" I asked, in confusion. "How could he? How could I like someone that listened to this music?" I thought, as I listened to a Johnny Cash song on the radio.
My Husband Never Misses Wrestling
He Never Misses Wrestling
And then other clues started to emerge. During one of our first conversations, he said that he wasn't a big sports fan. I was elated, of course. I mean, how often can you find a guy that doesn't like sports, like me?
But then, one Friday, he mentioned how he had been watching "Friday Night Smackdown."
"Pardon?" I asked, meekly. My phone seemed to be acting so funny lately.
"Yeah, Friday NIght Smackdown. I never miss it."
"Oh," I sighed. "I thought you said you weren't really a sports fan."
"Oh, I'm not, really," he replied. "I've just always watched wrestling, since I was a kid. It's my soap opera, you know."
And then a few more hints ... cracks in the polished veneer of our mythical togetherness: I wrote him a letter and he calls, saying he's not really much writing. I tell him of my love for nature and he sounds surprised. I mention cats and he sounds disinterested, even stating he's not really an "animal person."
And some more serious differences: he drinks. I don't. He smokes. I don't. I go to church. He doesn't. I'm lonely. He's sociable. I've had lots of jobs. He's had one since he was twenty-one. I'm indecisive. He's a rock.
It went on and on ... maybe it wouldn't work. We were very different. We were opposites.
Must Love Cats
He Helped Me Move
My husband continued on in our Internet dating, in spite of our differences. In spite of my concerns. I had just finished a contract up North and had signed for another one at a different school. I had lived in his city before and made the leap to move to his city. We had known each for only a short time but the timing seemed right. I knew his city and lived there before, years ago. It was either move now, or wait a year.
I decided to move. I was scared out of my wits but we made it happen. In fact, my future husband even flew in a plane 1000 miles to come and meet me, and assist me in my move. He came, he helped me pack, and we drove the 1000 miles in a pickup truck and a U-Haul trailer with back lights that didn't work. What a gentleman!
While we were travelling, the concerns of our incompatibility seemed even more poignant. We were strangers, virtually, and every difference seemed to be a glaring zit staring me in the face. A blemish on this supposedly great love. But we ventured on.
The trip home was fun and after that, we dated for a while. During that time, we fought about almost everything. I had rented a room with his family, and so we were in closer quarters than we should have been. We even broke up for a few months, both convinced we could not make a go of it. It was evident we had nothing in common and when I broke it off with him, I had wondered how we had ever gotten involved.
From Our Cross-Country Trip
I Would Google, "My Husband And I Are Opposites" Into the Computer
We ended up getting back together and getting married after a few months but soon after, the fighting started again. It was over housework, over work, over the kids, over friends, over values, over how we would spend our time, over what he said, over what I said.
We are opposites, like I said, and those differences were never so evident as in our first two years of marriage. We came close to divorce quite a few times. I am telling you, this was no pretty picture.
I used to sit at the computer and google, "married to my opposite," and "my husband and I are incompatible." I was desperate. So was he.
We Went to A Counsellor
During our second year of marriage, we were fighting so much that I insisted we talk to someone. We needed help and we needed it now.
The first place we went was to a couple from our church whom my husband knew and trusted. They are an older couple who had done a fair bit of counselling in their time. They allowed us to come to their house several times and they listened to both of us.
They showed me that i was getting too hysterical and emotional. They showed my husband that he was being harsh. And they did one more thing. They directed us to a professional counsellor. And we went. She changed our life around.
We went to this woman counsellor and we started to learn how to communicate. We started to learn what we needed to do to love the other person. And we started to learn that this marriage was possible.
We were opposites but these two opposites could learn to love each other.
We Began To Complement Each Other
Our third year of marriage was the best. Finally, the things we learned from our counsellor and our couple friends, and the books we had been reading, started to click in. We were opposites but that was okay. I finally started to realize that my husband did not have to be the same as me, in order for this relationship to work. We could "live and let live. "
And an even better thing started to happen. We started to learn from one another. Now, I had heard this could happen but I hadn't believed it. But it was true. We actually complemented each other. (And no, that doesn't mean to tell the other person they have nice hair: that's compliment.)
The dictionary defines complement as "Add to (something) in a way that enhances or improves it; make perfect." And that is what began to happen with us. Our differences actually starting to become our mutual strength and we began to learn from each other. And it was a beautiful thing!
How It Works
As I said at the beginning, my husband and I are opposites. In so many ways. But we are happy. Here's how.
Both of our individual strengths combine to make a strong whole. Here are some ways that this has worked:
Table of Our Differences and How It Works
Balanced: My husband has learned to think things over. I have learned to take action sooner.
Balanced. We walk together now. I have started to lose weight. He has learned to discuss deeper things.
Stable Work History
Variety of Jobs
Balanced. He has learned to have a life outside of work. I have learned to settle down.
He watches wrestling. I have unguilty time for hubbing. I have learned that wrestling's silly but not that bad.
Drinker/Liked to Party Sometimes
Teetotaller/Never Really Partied
He has stopped drinking. I have learned to have more fun and not take life as seriously.
He doesn't write himself but he supports me in my writing dream with lots of encouragement, even sometimes listening to something I have written.
Not An Animal Person
We have three cats. He has learned to love them very much and the cats add peace to his life.
Balanced. I enjoy his exuberance: it helps motivate me. He enjoys my peace. It helps calm him down.
Extravagant With Money
Frugal With Money
Balanced. He spends less frivolously. I am less afraid to spend.
Balanced. He helps me focus on day-to-day realities. I help him to dream of something beyond the day-to-day.
Rabbi Shmuley Helping A Marriage
Accept Instead of Control
If you are in a incompatible relationship, don't despair. It is possible to be married to someone to whom you are opposite. And it can work. Ours does.
As Schmuley Boteach, says, in his article, Compatibility is Over-Rated: "... love, attraction, and affection, not compatibility, are the glue that keeps a man and a woman together." After all, men and women are different, period. It is in fact, the differences between the genders that provide our provide such great pleasure and satisfaction.
We can live with difference if we learn to love them instead of trying to change them. To accept instead of control. It's not easy, but it's possible. And if you can get beyond your differences, you can have a marriage beyond your wildest expectations. Where you meet each other's needs. And enjoy each other's company. And when living with your opposite is the best thing that ever happened to you.
For more about this topic, including some of the sources that I found during my lonely, frustrated Google searches, see the resource box below.
- Second Marriage Hope - Transforming second marriages by understanding and awareness.
Transforming second marriages by understanding and awareness.
- Marriage of Opposites | Fathers for Good
Some great advice on making it work when you don't seem compatible.
- Differences, incompatibilities and marriage success
Some very wise advice about not allowing differences to drive you apart.
A very deep, analytical site focused on the psychology of being married to your opposite.