Here’s my confession. Sometimes I worry that Michael and I don’t have enough in common. We both feel quite secure in our marriage, but it’s still a source of insecurity for me. I see all these couples with their shared passions and I wonder if something isn’t missing from our relationship. (I remember one time we got into a huge fight over dinner at a Thai restaurant because I couldn’t get him to identify as a feminist and my efforts to encourage him otherwise were unsuccessful. Sidebar: we’re still working on this. As a result, I spent the car ride home bawling at him that we were too different and obviously doomed for failure. Err… sometimes I’m a little dramatic.) Which is why I love this post from longtime reader Lisa (who you may know better as Giggles a.k.a. the sunflower avatar in the comments). Because sometimes I need to be reminded of what partnership really is. It’s not having everything in common, but respecting each other enough to see our differences as valid options, and caring for each other enough to be willing to meet halfway when we can. It’s saying: I see you, I hear you, and I value what you need, even if I don’t agree.
Perhaps we just aren’t meant to be together.
I mean, right off the bat we couldn’t agree on what the purpose of a bathmat is. I think it’s there to keep my feet warm when I get out of the shower. I think the purpose of most things is to keep me warm actually. Yet he thinks the whole purpose of the bathmat is to keep the floor from being wet. Which results in a really wet bathmat. Do you know how cold a sopping wet bathmat can be? Cold. Really cold. Which defeats the whole purpose of the bathmat if you ask me.
And then we have books. Yes, we both love to read. There are full bookcases in just about every room of our house, with more boxes of books we don’t have room for. But we can’t agree on just how to read a book. I think you are supposed to read a book, finish it, and move on to the next one. I’ll read several thousand pages a year. He might read a book or two. Just read the darn book already!
Not to mention socks. When I fold the socks they look like a hoagie bun. He ties his socks in a knot. Literally. How can we be expected to get along when we can’t even agree on how to fold socks?!
There’s the fact that when I clean a mirror I use up-and-down strokes and he uses side-to-side strokes. When I crack a raw egg I bang it on the side of the bowl and he hits it with a fork. When I crack a hard-boiled egg I wrap it in a napkin and roll it between my hand and the counter while he hits it on the counter and then peels the shell off piece by piece. I floss before I brush. He flosses after. I’m a night owl. He’s an early bird. I stretch after I run. He stretches before. I like a computer desktop free of icons. His computer desktop has icons across half the screen. When he watches TV that’s the only thing he’s doing. When I turn the TV on I can be up doing the dishes, or in the other room trading out the laundry, or even in the kitchen fixing myself a snack, and still follow the plot of the show. He likes bar soap at the sink, and I like soft soap.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg with how incredibly different we are! How could we possibly be soul mates when we are so fundamentally different?
Yet we’re perfect for each other. Because he’ll dry his feet as he steps out of the shower now so the bathmat stays dry for me. And we each fold our own socks. Of all our differences, neither of us is doing any of them wrong, we’re just doing them differently.
The bulk of the little things just aren’t big enough for us to make an issue out of. Plus, they keep things interesting. The perfect person for us isn’t perfectly like us. How boring/annoying would it be if we mirrored each other all day long?
We agree to love and respect each other, including, and especially, our differences. That’s really one of the most important things we need to agree on.
That’s what makes us meant to be together.
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