How to Be a Grown-Up

Growing old takes time, growing up takes work

How To Stay Married To Your Complete Opposite

When you're married to your complete opposite, become better not bitter.

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Life would be so much easier if I had married someone just like me, but with male genitalia. The only thing my husband, Brian, and I have in common is that we hate being opposites.

In fact, just the other day, Brian sarcastically apologized for not being more "my type"-- a nerdy, spiritual, shy, non-drinker. I sarcastically apologized for not being a video game-addicted, bar hopping, sassy girl who dresses like Avril Lavigne.

I think the only reason Brian has kept me around so long is because of all the young women he’s ever dated, I bring the least amount of drama into his life. While he thinks he likes edgy girls, they always end up ruining his life by getting him punched in the face by their crazy ex-boyfriends. (True story, by the way.) The fact that Brian hasn’t been punched in years is due, in large part, to me being a fairly Zen and extremely boring woman.

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And that’s the funny thing about choosing a good life partner — what you want and what you need are different. We want a mirror of ourselves, but what we need is someone who challenges us, inspires us to be better, and loves us even if we can’t change.

But being betrothed to your opposite can be infuriating. It might just drive you to go all Lorena Bobbitt on your man. And he might want do the female equivalent to you. (Which…ouch! But I digress.)

The big secret to staying married to your complete opposite is: You must find ways for your differences to aid each others individual personal development. Get better at listening, practice the art of compromise, go outside your comfort zone. Be molded into a more balanced, beautiful person. Growth is essentially a one-way ticket to happiness, and if you’re a happy person, you probably won’t go Lorena Bobbitt on your partner no matter how irritating he or she gets.

When I was younger, I wanted to marry someone who was a more awesome version of myself, so that I’d always be happy and inspired simply by being in the presence of a man who is everything I’d like to be. How easy life would feel! But nowadays, I’d rather just strive to be the best version of myself, and find someone who helps me do that, even if it happens the hard way.

Your Turn: How do you stay married to your complete opposite?

Read more of this writer's PG-13 antics at A Brave Life.

Copyright Kimberly Eclipse

Kimberly Eclipse, M.A., M.S.Ed., a Visiting Nurse Service bereavement counselor, teaches psychology at Nyack College.

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