Saturday, November 8, 2008

Why Can't You Be Just Like Me?

One of the hardest things about marriage is also what makes it so beautiful. As children, many of us are misled into thinking that everyone is or at least should be just like us. When diving into marriage, whether we realize it or not, we carry that sentiment with us. Of course, the blinding love usually keeps us from seeing just how annoyingly different our mate-to-be actually is until its way too late to back out.
This morning, my husband and I were playing 20 questions, mandatory answering and they must be honest. In asking him what his ideal holiday plans would be if he had complete authority and control, I was struck by how different he was. And it wasn't that I didn't already know that because his differences were some of the reasons I loved and needed him. The most difficult part was that I finally realized how important it was to me for him to be just like me, in some areas at least. If it were up to him, he would spend the winter holidays in a different place every year vacationing. Leaving home, not being around family and setting up our own (home-centered) traditions struck me as absolutely the worst thing I could do. Yet, that's the best thing he could do.
Rational or not, I went into a little bit of grieving for myself. In a lot of ways, I had always felt vastly different than my family growing up. One of those secret solutions that we seek in marriage (yes, that we never verbalize or admit) for me was finding validation for me being me. This certainly was not doing that. Now, I know all of the positive things about the joining of two very different worlds, especially for our future children. Compromises can be beautiful things. As much as I want to share my perfect holiday with him, spending a week in NYC or Flagstaff could be fun too. So, yes I know we can share and probably be better off. But, there is just some kind of insane draw about sharing things that you love with other people who love it too. And suddenly realizing that may not happen in quite the way you had hoped with the most important person in your life is pretty mind-altering, if only for a while.
As usual, Randy's differences set up a learning situation that is exactly what I need. We are two extremes, sitting opposite of one another, sharing commonalities mostly because of our extremity. So, really, I shouldn't be surprised. But as a kid, going over to your friends house for dinner can bring quite a wrench to your relationship. Especially if they have weird food for dinner and watch weird things on tv or don't have a tv at all. Suddenly, you're looking at your friend much differently. Most likely, you'll still be friends because kids are more resilient than adults. But how many adult relationships, between parent & child, friendships and even nations, get stuck here and never are the same again. No worries, I'm sticking with Randy despite his 'crazy' holiday ideals, but its certainly something to help me reflect on how I deal with differences.
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