My husband likes to pick things up off the street. I don’t like to pick things up off the street. You know when people leave their old toys or furniture on the curb for treasure seekers, or in my humble opinion, garbage day, Andrew has no problem inspecting its quality and taking it if appropriate. I would rather die than touch any of it. Upon discussion one day I said the following:
E: That is where we fundamentally differ.
A: Right, and that’s why you’ll be bankrupt and I’ll be living in a mansion.
E: Please, if you’re not living in a mansion by now you won’t be living in a mansion 5 years from now when you divorce me.
For a married couple we use the “D” word a lot in our banter. Hmmm, is it a problem? I’m not sure so I’ll think about it later. But what this conversation does illustrate is that we are two very different people. We approach life in distinct ways that is grounded in our upbringings, histories and personalities. I almost feel sometimes that we are held together more from our common experiences than our compatibility as a couple. When you’ve known each other from a very young age your lives begin to build around each other and these roots either serve as a solid foundation or they start to strangle you. I really dislike binaries because they are so reductionist but for certain aspects of our marriage they actually describe us to a T. He’s heavy, I’m light; he’s careful, I’m not; he’s emotional, I’m in my head most of the time. Basically, on a spectrum of reincarnation he’s an old soul and I’m fairly young. These variances can bring about friction and there is more room for heated debates about our next steps. Do I think that a relationship with someone with more similar character traits be easier? Yes, of course. There are few things more exhausting than feeling like someone doesn’t quite “get” you. But I think there are positive aspects to this type of partnership. It all depends on how you frame the resistance that is bound to result from two different people choosing to make a life together.
When you think of your partnership as being a team it’s much easier to smooth out the rough edges. I honestly feel that we make up for each other’s weaknesses. If Andrew was not a part of my days, months, years, I would make so many more rash decisions and would be in a continual state of rebuilding and repairing my life. If I was not a part of Andrew’s world he would be married to his work, be so frugal and not have the levity to also enjoy the simple pleasures. I feel like we can do so many more productive and exciting things precisely because of our fundamental differences. Basically, we can get much further together than apart and that’s worth investing in.