Family, Life, Marriage, Relationships

Do Opposites Attract?

Published on Living the Second Act (February 2020)

Opposites Do Attract.

My husband Jared and I met training for the Boston Marathon. One might assume that two endurance athletes would have a ton in common and lead a perfectly synchronized life of healthy eating, fitness and endorphin-infused bliss. That could not be further from our reality.

It was a Wednesday

While we do enjoy many of the same things, the overlap in our Venn diagram is narrow. Our tastes in music have some crossover with The Beatles, Classic Rock and a healthy dose of guilty pleasure Pop but my favorite Pandora stations are Adele, REM and The Doobie Brothers while his are Scandinavian death metal bands. I love sweets and snacks while he takes healthy home cooking and nutrition to a new level. I am friendly and outgoing but more comfortable in a more intimate setting with a few friends. Meanwhile, Jared thrives in the night life, enjoys being the center of attention and is notorious for showing up to parties in wigs and costumes. The old saying (and Paula Abdul lyrics) that Opposites Attract runs quite true for us.

At first glance, we don’t always make a lot of sense and in the early years of relationship no one thought we were going to make it (not even us) but a decade later we are dedicated to making it work and to the surprise of many, it does.

Admittedly, it’s not always easy. Our different personalities also come with drastically different communication styles. I can be overly sensitive, and he can be brutally direct leading to his frustration and my hurt feelings. Differences of opinion can get heated and it may take us a little while to find our common ground. Many of our disagreements aren’t really about things, they more accurately stem from how we communicate our feelings. We have to work really hard on listening to one another and finding understanding.

Thankfully, when it comes to our opposite interests, we celebrate our individuality and let each other be true to ourselves. We find the differences in our respective personalities attractive and value how they balance our lives as a family. Jared and I are not that couple that feels compelled to do everything together. We know that our time apart helps us appreciate our time together even more. There are also opportunities for growth when we join in on the other’s activities.

Before we were together, Jared had little experience with live theater, none of which was particularly positive. I am a proud theater nerd and love musicals, and now he will join me for our date night. Not every show is a hit, but it’s a night out that we now enjoy together. For the record, ten years after seeing Wicked he still talks about it and he took me to Hamilton twice. For me, it was Jared’s contagious energy that I fell in love with in the first place and he makes me laugh every day of my life. Furthermore, if Jared didn’t love to cook we would likely live on Trader Joe’s frozen entrees.

We are far from perfect and like any relationship, ours takes a special patience, compromise and appreciation for one another that we are thankfully committed to. Like Paula sang “Don’t think we’ll ever get our differences patched. It don’t really matter cuz we’re perfectly matched.”