Differences in Marriage

When nature allows a "psychology/people oriented" person to fall in love with an "engineer/thing-oriented" type, the very laws of natural selection should be held suspect! Remember the song, "Why Can't a Woman be More Like A Man?" Be honest, how often have you looked at your spouse and asked with a sigh, "Why can't he/she be more like me?"


For instance, my husband subscribes to three magazines in which he reads all the articles, cover to cover, in order. Now we all know that normal people grab a magazine, flip through it from back to front, find the articles that interest them most, then proceed to read them in order of preference. Recently when I asked, "Aren't you anxious to read the article about pruning roses since you're involved in that project right now?", his calm reply was, "I'll read it when I come to it. It'll still be there."


While my motto is "Do it fast. Get it done," his is "Do it efficiently" and "Do it right." There's the matter of the tennis ball hanging on a string from the garage rafters, so that when I pull the car into the garage and the tennis ball meets the windshield, I know that this is the exact place to stop the car. (I'll probably never risk knowing what would happen if I pulled in a few inches farther or stopped a bit short of the fuzzy thud!)


And while I'm a charter member of the "Born to Shop" club, my spouse has zero interest in clothes (except for his running shoes that appear to multiply like rabbits all over the closet floor.) Often when I ask why he doesn't wear a particular blazer, shirt or suit which he has kept "nice" in a plastic suit-bag until it is blatantly outdated, he responds that he's saving it for his funeral. After hearing this once too often, I told him that if he were to wear all the things that he's saved for his funeral, I'd have to schedule "showings" at the mortuary, with hourly changes of costume. "If you care to come back at 3:30, Mrs. Jones, you can see Richard in his aqua leisure suit."


A therapist-friend gave us standard personality tests early in our marriage (a bit late, you're saying?) The results showed us at opposite ends of the spectrum in every category. The good doctor tried to comfort us with assurances that rather than causing dissension, differences can be assets, if used to advantage in relationships. He said that while differences can be annoying, they also offer excitement, and that each should let the other take the lead in areas where he/she showed superior strengths.


I tried hard to remember that a couple days following the last holiday, after I had taken down the flag and stuffed it on a shelf in the coat-closet. Dick approached me, carrying "Old Glory", and asked if I would hold one end for him while he folded it "properly."


I repeated, like a mantra, "Remember, Joyce, try to be patient. Utilize the differences. See them as strengths."


While I held one end of the flag, he constructed long folds, all uniform in size, then folded neat triangles by carefully folding the material first one direction, then the other, ending at last in a perfect compact triangle. (I was sure I heard a bugle playing taps in the distance.)


"Remember, Joyce, try to be patient. Utilize the differences. See them..." BUT WHY CAN'T THAT MAN BE MORE LIKE ME?