Opposites attract. If two people just alike get married, one of you is unnecessary. ~ Larry Burkett
You’d like to travel, he doesn’t. You thrive on change, but he’s stuck like glue to what’s been done before.
You have not been thrilled with this situation.
What do you do about changing it? Can you change it?
More than once, I’ve heard my husband describe our relationship to others this way: ‘Whenever I need to know what Mel wants to do in a certain situation, I think about what I would want ~ and do the opposite.’
His words always seem to amuse those listening, but express a truth that’s been frustrating for me to live with for most of my married life.
Even when I’ve known breakup “on the grounds of incompatibility” is a crock because nobody is compatible. Nobody human, anyway.
We love, we commit, and accommodate all the incompatible bits by a continual act of our will.
However, since yesterday morning, I’m seeing things in a different way. More specifically, I’m seeing my husband in a different way.
I was in the kitchen, making coffee, and deliberating on a certain choice. All else seeming pretty much equal, I decided for option “C” since I hadn’t done it before.
Soon after, he walks in and shares with me his feelings of “trepidation” about something he was planning to do.
Why trepidation, I ask. Is it because of this or that? No, he says. I’m always uncomfortable doing something I’ve never done before.
Now, I already knew we had opposing opinions and preferences about so many things that matter to me, a situation I considered so unfair and limiting on my end. But, who knew he got totally stressed out just thinking about doing something new?
And I saw, for the first time, what a tough time this man has had being married to me.
My husband’s brick-wall devotion all these years seems almost heroic now, seeing how my continual cheerleading for foreign travel, eating “strange” foods, and doing different things “just because” must have felt as comfortable to him emotionally as sleeping on a bed of Brillo.
We could not be more different.
I’m more certain than ever God has some wonderful purpose in this “obvious” cross-up.
Maybe I’m to take my beloved turtle of a man places he supposed to go and never would have gone without me. Maybe he is to keep his Eveready explorer bunny of a wife from wandering too far off and falling off the edge of the earth.
I don’t know, but I’m praying, “Help me to stay hopeful and hold on, LORD!”
And what about YOUR crazy “mismatch” of a marriage?
Where it seems you’ve drawn the short end of the stick on this deal with all the things you like to do and be a part of but miss out on because he doesn’t wanna . . .
Stop. Breathe. Pray. Wait.
And know today there is a Divine method in your madness, too.
Wonderful post Melodie, It is funny how sometimes the differences we see in our spouses can cause friction, but it is those same differences that bring us closer.
I love this – Maybe I’m to take my beloved turtle of a man places he supposed to go
and never would have gone with out me. Maybe he is to keep his ever
ready explorer bunny of a wife from wandering too far off and falling
off the edge of the earth.
Couples who do not appreciate the differences spend their time and efforts trying to change each other.
Other benefits of differences I can think of
– Allow continual growth
– Trigger teamwork
– Allow reliance
– Catalyze oneness
In my marriage, our differences create oneness and healthy reliance. I hate doing the budget and Robinson loves numbers. We get to rely on each other and do our budget together.
Thank you, Marie ~
For your generous sharing of insights gained through working with couples in your counseling practice as well as from your own marriage. Any spouse seeking affirmation that differences are not only to be expected but celebrated ~ and used to maximum effect ~ will find it here.
Thank you for sharing this very transparent (and fun) post. As a single girl, I love to glean the wisdom of my married friends and store it for the future. I need the reminder that married life is not a bed of roses all the time! The single life and married life have their unique relationship challenges!
You, yourself, are wise to glean wisdom, Melissa ~
It’s said, ‘Even roses have thorns.’ I wrote here about the pain of having a pricked finger, so to speak, and not about all the beautiful laughter we’ve shared.
Glad the unique joys of marriage outshine the challenges.
Great, ‘real’ post Melodie! I’m married to someone who is VERY much like me. It’s incredible in the good times. Very, very hard in the bad times. We don’t balance each other out so well. High highs, low lows. We’re getting better (after 20 years), but don’t know if the grass is greener on the other side. It’s a constant effort to better honor each other’s differences though.
Thanks for the reminder there’s no marriage immune to drama, not even the “apples to apples” ones like yours. For saying it takes work to handle differences, even when we are similar.
Luv that you’re 20 years and counting! I would more married folk make the ‘constant effort to better honor each others differences’ (and not just tolerate them).
Love this topic and love all the comments — my husband made a wise observation during a discussion about how different we are — “the qualities that drew us together, start to drive you crazy after a while.” He loved how I could enter a room and talk to anyone about anything, I loved his focus and goal setting. Slowly he realized that I wanted to talk to him all the time too — I realized that his focus was generated by silence most of the time. We have been married 30 years and what has happened over the years is the slow appreciation of each other — much the same way we did when we first met. Jobs, kids, money, family all create stress that can break down all of the good feelings about each other. You start wanting a quick fix and a partner who thinks and solves problems the same way you do — and then move on. The middle years are when most divorces happen. But if you stick it out (and it is darn hard) you find a great person in your partner who has weathered every storm with you and appreciates you again for what you have been through. The most important thing we have learned is to let each other be independent on activities that are not always shared interests. I travel a lot and just make my plans and meet new people, he works so hard and has earned a huge respect from all of his team. We are different but have earned each other’s respect and would be so lost without each other.
Sherry ~ your 30 years of a “mismatch” marriage ~ love it!
Engaging independently in activities relating to interests we do not share is, as you say, key. Prevents a WORLD of frustration!
Such a powerful post, Melodie! Thank you for sharing wisdom and inspiration that touches singles and marrieds alike! It’s helpful to remember that the Lord is our Spouse (Isaiah 54); He pairs us perfectly with imperfect helpmates to chisel us more into the likeness of Christ. Choosing to use the challenges for God’s glory is a gateway to growth and peace. Thank you for allowing the Lord to shine through you in both trials and triumphs! You are a blessing to all of us, and may God always bless you!
You said it: “He pairs us perfectly with imperfect helpmates.” In all the challenges and triumphs described here I’m seeing what it truly means to have “a match made in heaven”!
Praise our Maker for making such matches! I thank Him for Heaven-sent friends like you, Melodie! 🙂
LOL, I had to laugh when I read this! I always want to try new things and my husband…well, he has a lot in common with your husband! I’m happy to see there are others out there like us (opposites)! Great post and great reminders! Thank you!
LOL too ~ think it’s time to start a Meet-Up group!
Well you finally moved me out of the mud– Lawrence Kenniebrew
I’m not a blogger and to me Social Media is this strange new thing taking over the Internet. However, I thought all of you who subscribe to Melodie’s Blog might like to hear what I think about her latest post. So here goes.
We are truly opposites! Her mind travels on the expressways, where I’m quite content on the service roads. You might wonder, “Do these two people have any common ground.” In fact, I believe we both asked ourselves that question during the first years of our marriage. However, after fourteen years, we are beginning to see that our differences are not as wide and prominent as what they appeared to be.
I really appreciate that when Melodie tells me a joke, I get it even though it’s based on something that happened in the 60’s. We enjoy the same kind of TV programs – She does not like soap operas and I don’t care for sports. Her love of history has often moved me to research things on the Internet that I had no knowledge or interest about. Though she is the nerd and I’m the free spirit, we are united as we listen to Dave Ramsey and seek to make sound financial decisions. These few examples may seem rather trivial, but it’s the day in and day out multitude of small things that build .or tear down a marriage.
Ultimately, we both believe that God does not make mistakes. He joined us together with the knowledge that what He saw we would see also in . . . time.
Amen! Our Maker makes no mistakes! As Melodie wrote, your marriage is a “match made in Heaven.” The Lord’s bountiful blessings to both of you!
Oh, my goodness ~ seeing my husband’s comment here, this IS a FIRST! Nope, Caroline, He’s on the money every time!
Amen! Our Maker is on the money every time! Love to see a fun FIRST like this, Melodie!!
What a sweet surprise, Babe ~ keep ’em comin’!