Opposites-attract. We have all heard this saying before. We experience it in many a love tale, movie, or even played out before our very eyes in our marriages. Many experts dispute this claim, but I still believe it is alive and well. The trouble lay in the viewpoint. The universal belief, the myth, that to be opposites means that two people are so starkly different that they have absolutely nothing in common, when in fact, they have many of the essential foundations needed to have a healthy marriage but differ in personalities that can, and do, complement each other.
Differences enhance relationships. Where one is weak, the other is strong, which deepens the bond; “holding down the fort” in areas we are unable to. Sure, real issues can arise when opposites attract, but a bit of compromise, grace, and mercy leads to a stable union even when two people have many differences.
Boy Meets Girl
My husband and I are opposites. However, our foundation is solid. We both have the same commitment to our marriage, goals for our family, and Christ followers. We also have the same values and expectations for our kids. Another thing we have in common is our political viewpoints (although I realize many marriages work well when that is not the case). In fact, we did not begin our relationship playing in the same political arena.
Although we have similarities, we differ in most other ways. My husband uses logic to make decisions, and mine are often emotionally driven. He is analytical, cautious, and practical, which makes him a savant for finances. On the flip-side, I am creative, emotional and a spend-thrift. While I am perfectly content sitting at home all weekend with a book or laptop to accomplish some new writing idea, he is likely to have the worst case of cabin fever after 24 hours. When faced with a conflict, my hubs rises to the occasion and keeps a cool head. He formulates his words carefully, while I go off and spontaneously combust into a fiery ball of anger. My words spew out before I can manage to filter them properly. These are not our only differences. He is the well-oiled machine to my junk drawer!
The Well-Oiled Machine
My husband is the poster boy for organization and efficiency. Everything has its place. Always! In the kitchen, The spices and cans are all facing forward and leave dishes in the sink? Nope! No way! When Anyone else loads the dishwasher, he REORGANIZES it and somehow manages to fit twice as many in one load; even the junk drawer is orderly! Who has one of those?
In his closet, the floor is a perfectly aligned parking lot for shoes, and he strategically plans and hangs his clothes more efficiently than any department store you will visit; seasonally arranged and color-coded to boot. No stitch of clothing is out of place, EVER! His shelves are always perfectly organized and any item stored is easily found. Impressive, huh? If you think his closet is a sight to be seen, wait until you see his spreadsheets.
His real superpower is the spreadsheet. I wager his skill could rival NASA! Ok, maybe I am becoming melodramatic. Do they even do spreadsheets at NASA? Exercising his power for all things Excel and the epitome of methodical organizing, you can guess who handles the finances in our house. He is a whiz with numbers, and the man’s financial spreadsheet is nothing short of amazing. Every. Single. Penny accounted for. In fact, If he is one cent is off he will dig and dig and dig, and believe me, he finds it too; it is incredible!
In addition to fab financial files, he creates a meticulous excel sheet for EVERYTHING! If we are going on a vacation, spreadsheet. If he is researching something, spreadsheet. Need a wish list, spreadsheet! I am secretly envious of his superpower.
The Junk Drawer
If he is the well-oiled machine of the house, I am the junk drawer. Just call me chaos and disorder. I can never find anything even when storing something away in a place I am POSITIVE I can find again! If my butt were not firmly attached to my body, I would lose it! I am no better in the kitchen either. When I search through the spices, cans, boxes or anything else in the cabinets, they are shoved in all directions in no particular order and certainly not facing forward. The dishwasher and I are not on friendly terms either. It is unlikely that I will achieve loading it in a way that models order and efficiency; and that junk drawer so perfectly sifted, kiss that baby goodbye. After I have rummaged through it searching for even a pen, it looks like a toddler’s toy box.
Welcome to the Jungle
Speaking of chaos, I can ruin a perfectly executed excel sheet for dummies. Before we combined finances, my husband made me a simple spreadsheet to replace my check register. All that it required was to plug in the transaction date, description, and amount. Simple right? WRONG! Do you believe I still could not balance it? I was constantly off from what the bank said I had. I mean, the dang thing did all the calculating, and I still could not keep it straight.
My closet is certainly not up to his standards. It is my room of chaos. The one room I can just be a holy mess without bothering my husband’s necessity for neatness and order. The day we bought our current house with separate closets saved our marriage. I usually have clothes all over the floor; shoes tossed around randomly, and clothes loosely organized on the racks. My shelves are a happy little array of random items I do not know what to do with, so I just stand at the bottom and throw the piece up onto the shelves (I am short) to which I just leave half hanging off the edge of the shelf. The day often arrives when things tumble off the top shelf to smack me in the head.
Here He Comes to Save the Day
A laundry basket sits right inside the door (no it does not have actual laundry in it, that would be too practical) for him to stack my clean clothes on after laundry day, which falls on Thursday and Sunday in my house (his scheduled days). My husband is a rare breed who does most of the laundry without my assistance and certainly not any prompting. He is WAY more on top of it than I have ever been. Thank God too because we would all run around naked if left to me!
My husband and I could not be more opposite in many ways, but having personality differences does not have to be an obstacle in a marriage. We have learned to compromise with each other in many areas; One being closet space!
In some cases, we have even embraced and rubbed off on each other. My husband has tapped into his “sensitive” and carefree side, and I have learned to be more logical and practical in some areas. He is more likely to spend money than before, and I am more conscientious of a budget. On some weekends, he gives me time to do nothing, and I recognize his need to get out, so we do. One of the best skills I have acquired from him is that I have tapped into my “cool-headed” side. I am less likely to burst into flames when angered, well, mostly.
Opposites can live together in harmony and flourish if we let it. The key is to embrace the differences. God made us fit together like a piece of a puzzle; no two pieces are made alike. Each piece is made to compliment the next to make a beautiful picture.
I need my Well-Oiled Machine, and he needs his Junk Drawer.