My husband Randy and I are a good team. We always have been. And yet, as we’ve both adjusted over the past year to his early retirement — and him being home all the time — I see now how different we are. I’ve even wondered how we managed to survive all these years, still loving and liking each other. Here in no particular order are ways we both continue to…well, perplex the other.
Randy’s an extrovert. I’m an introvert. My husband is funny, outgoing, and charming. He has an extrovert’s love of people, talking, and socializing. I have my fun moments too, but that’s the key. They’re moments.
Randy and I will go out to dinner and have a great time. “A good band is playing in Fairfield tonight. Let’s go,” he’ll say afterwards. Sometimes I will, but more times than not by 9:30 p.m., I’m ready for my pajamas and the latest episode of “Versailles.” I feel boring, but thank God, Randy understands my limited introvert energy.
Randy needs sound… constantly. I worship quiet. Even on the back porch in the summer, Randy will put on pretty classical music. Nice, right? Meh. I love natural noise – the chirping of birds, croaking tree frogs, and soft breeze rustling the leaves. But Randy’s a musician. He can’t tolerate a world without notes, chords, and melody.
So we’ve learned to compromise. We alternate his need for musical interludes with “ambient noise” breaks for me.
Randy falls asleep in 5 seconds. I lie awake for hours. I’ve heard lots of wives say this. Men hit the pillow and start snoring immediately. It doesn’t matter what’s on their minds. Women ruminate. We take longer to fall unconscious, giving rise to thoughts like…Did I leave the garage door open? Was my neighbor strangely distant the other day? Hey, I never heard back from that electrician.
Meanwhile, Randy sleeps like an angel while I lie there, sometimes jealous. He never sweats the small stuff. Me? I sweat everything.
Randy loses things. I find things. Phone, car keys, bills, paperwork… you name it, my husband has lost it, many times. He can search a room for his wallet for an hour and not see it. Then he’ll call me in. I’m like the “Long Island Medium” with psychic abilities to scan the space and spot the missing item in seconds. I’m not sure what all this means, except maybe my mind is more, ahem, detail-oriented?
Randy doesn’t mind a “lived in” look. I need monk-like order. Thank God, his office has a door. And he admits it himself — he’s “organizationally challenged.“ Somehow this plays into our personalities. Randy’s easy-going and takes life – and objects — as he finds them (if he can find them). I need order and control to be happy. Somehow we’ve struck an adult, mature truce. (Yes, I cover my eyes when I enter his space).
Randy lives in the present. I’m hopelessly enslaved by the future. I’ve been keeping to-do lists on index cards for 38 years. I plot out days, weeks, and months. Randy never keeps a calendar, ever. It’s all in his head. I honestly don’t know how he does it. I never see him write anything down – appointments, birthdays, or errands… and yet he never misses anything.
In the way I need to plot out my future like it’s a trip to the South Pole, Randy’s memory seems to operate on a spontaneous, “as-needed” basis. It’s an uncanny talent.
He’s generous. I’m stingy. No one shops like my husband. If he buys food, it’s enough to supply the Russian army in January. No wonder the kids loved opening his gifts so much more than mine. Where I gave socks and pajamas (hey, they were cool socks and pajamas), Randy gave the hottest new toy or snowboards or musical equipment. I was too busy calculating the cost of everything. It’s hard for me to be that financially care-free.
I’ve always thought, if you put us together, you’d have this wonderful, balanced person. You’d have the fun of Randy, with the practical side of me.
And maybe that’s what marriage is. Marriage is the melding of two people into this perfect, invisible third person.
But perhaps I’m forgetting all the things we have in common – we share the same values and commitment to our sons. We’re both indoor people who like to sleep late on weekends. We both like to make fun of certain politicians. We each enjoy a good diner breakfast.
Maybe we have more in common than I realized.
But maybe its also true…opposites attract.
Are you and your mate more alike or different? Comments are always welcome and if you feel inclined, please share.
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