Clearly, my husband Brian and I have a few things in common:
This used to bug me. I’m much more accustomed to falling in love with guys who are exactly like me, but with a penis.
In fact, just the other day, Brian sarcastically apologized for not being a nerdy, spiritual, shy, non-drinker. I sarcastically apologized for not being a video game-addicted, bar hopping, sassy girl who dresses like Avril Lavigne.
I think the only reason Brian has kept me around so long is because of all the young women he’s ever dated (or potentially dated), I bring the least amount of drama into his life. While he thinks he likes edgy girls, they always end up ruining his life by getting him punched in the face by their crazy ex-boyfriends. (True story, by the way.) The fact that Brian hasn’t been punched in years is due, in large part, to me being a fairly Zen and extremely boring woman.
And that’s the funny thing about choosing a good life partner — what you want and what you need are different. We want a mirror of ourselves, but what we need is someone who challenges us, inspires us to be better, and loves us even if we can’t change.
But being betrothed to your opposite can be infuriating. It might just drive you to go all Lorena Bobbitt on your man. And he might want do the female equivalent to you. (Which means cutting off one of your boobs, maybe? Which…ouch! But I digress.)
The big secret to staying married to your complete opposite is something I discovered during our recent “second Honeymoon” (I know, how First World of us.) to Australia: Opposites must find ways for their differences to aid each others individual personal development. Because growth is essentially a one-way ticket to happiness. And if you’re a happy person, you probably won’t go Lorena Bobbitt on your partner no matter how challenging he or she gets.
Here are 3 examples of how to leverage your challenging relationship to ensure a life of balance, beauty, and balls:
- Your water-loving partner might force you to take surfing lessons with him despite your fear of the ocean. You might find that you’re more naturally gifted at this sport than your husband, and so you surf right past him before he’s even able to learn how to stand up on his board. As you float by he might say, “I hate you.” But in fact, he loves you for honoring his request, and you love him for forcing you to be brave and surprise yourself.
- Your love of science and history vacations might clash with your partner’s love of relaxing beach vacations. This forces you two to practice the art of compromise. Sometimes this makes for some pretty interesting experiences, like listening to an informative talk about camels from a man who lets you ride his camels (one of whom is named Obama) along a pristine beach.
- You can be each others hero because, as opposites, your panic attacks are set off by very different things. So when he’s freaking out about flying across the Pacific Ocean, you remain unphased by it, which frees you up to stroke his back as he downs a whiskey at the airport bar. And while you’re cursing like a sailor as you abseil down a cliff at the start of a cave diving tour, he’s laughing at all your nervous jokes, which cheers you up because although you’re a coward, at least you’re an entertaining one.
I have a very unromantic (and thus, unpopular) view of marriage, so bare with me: I am kept sane despite being married to my opposite because my world does not revolve around him.
When I was younger, I wanted to marry someone who was a more awesome version of myself, so that I’d always be happy and inspired simply by being in the presence of a man who is everything I’d like to be. How easy life would feel! But nowadays, I’d rather just strive to be the best version of myself, and find someone who helps me do that, even if it happens the hard way.
Your Turn: How do you stay married to your complete opposite?