Greetings From Opposite-Land
I am an introvert married to an extrovert. Most of the time this is a good thing, and I know a lot of couples who have spent a LONG time in opposite-land and have figured out how to make it work. So it is no surprise that as my marriage slides into home plate for the 20th time, I find myself reflecting on our differences and wondering how we have managed to live together, in close quarters, for so long. Also known as – how have we not killed each other?
I can tell you from experience that the things that were interesting and “cool” when you first met are amazingly irritating and worthy of a stabbing as you get older. I can also tell you that all of us become more steadfast in who we are as we age and when you are in a marriage of opposites, this can be a real challenge. If you become more you, and I become more me, and we are really really different, well, holy shit, look out! This is actually the true testament to my marriage – not the ability to appreciate our differences (uh, bullshit) but the ability to swallow hard, to hide your eyeroll, to leave the room (or the house), to sleep on it, to bitch to a friend, to remember that this is the father of your child and back slowly away from the knife block. All marriages have these moments and the ability to stop, drop, and roll with it is an absolute survival tool.
The difficult part of opposite-land is that you have to learn the rules because your partner isn’t like you at all. This is both a blessing and a curse. When we go to a party, my husband will spend the entire night talking to every single person and having a great time but won’t remember their names and couldn’t tell you one important thing about any of them. I, on the other hand, will be huddled in the corner with one person the entire night fully engrossed in their epic life story, and I’ve already been invited to spend Christmas with them. That’s us in a nutshell. I am the contemplative, homebody Pooh to his gregarious, high-octane Tigger. And yet, we’ve made it work.
We’ve made it work because we make each other laugh every single day (though I’m definitely funnier), we appreciate and use each other’s strengths (I do tech support, he kills all the spiders), and we actually do enjoy each other’s company (we still go get milk together). I can also tell you that while these differences may require more compromise than other marriages, when you do find yourself on the same side or you meet in the middle, it’s uniquely magnificent. Like when we both want to do the same thing, or the fact that we are completely in synch in our parenting, or that we willingly share all of the responsibilities around the house. This is the bliss.
Marriage in opposite-land is a life-long game of chess. THIS for me is the secret to its success. I always say that my husband is my longest project and I think it’s because I genuinely appreciate the mystery of our relationship. Whatever makes us work is clearly beyond me and even has a whiff of cosmic intervention that I definitely don’t take for granted. However. I DO know that I am with someone who always has my back, who is a better person than I could ever aspire to be, and who I love. So when he refuses to rinse out the cat food cans, nearly kills us with his day-dream-driving, or wakes me up with his snoring, I silently, and with great reverence, say a prayer of thanks for my 20 years in opposite-land.
I ❤️ U, M. 20 more?! ?