Early Marriage | Part 13
Today’s challenge: different personalities, though it seems I don’t know or want to believe this is a challenge. So let’s play make-believe:
If you had shown me this chart when we were first married, and told me I’m on the left and D is on the right, I might have agreed in part.
I would also have been slightly amused at your ignorance. For example, D unemotional and detached? You’ve got to be kidding!
If you had told me D and I would have to work hard to maintain our relationship without becoming disenchanted with each other, I would have scorned your words.
Why should these things be difficult? We love each other! This chart makes it seem cut and dried. Life isn’t like that. It’s fluid. We’ll figure it out together! Isn’t that part of the adventure?
If you had told me we were different in areas difficult or even impossible to bring together successfully, I would have shown you the door.
In my eyes, D is exactly what I need and want. If anything, he’s at least 90% like I am, just as I’m 90% like he is. What’s the big deal? We’re highly compatible. We wouldn’t have been attracted to each other if we weren’t.
Question: Was there a chart like this back in the 1960s when we were dating and got engaged? If so, I never heard about it. In any case, it’s clearly for people having trouble relating to each other. Not for us.
To me, we’re almost peas in a pod. The biggest difference is gender. Case closed. We don’t need help. We just need each other.
If you’d tried to tell me D had the same personality profile as my father, and that this might raise a few issues down the road, I would have concluded two things. First, you didn’t know D very well. Second, you didn’t know me very well. I would never marry someone like my father.
I don’t need another father. I need a husband who respects me, wants me to have a life of my own, doesn’t tell me what to do, loves to hear what I have to say and how I feel about things, smiles at me a lot, doesn’t shame or humiliate me, and knows how to resolve things without getting angry with me.
Worst of all, if you’d asked me what I thought D and I might have to work on especially hard in our marriage, I would have laughed at the idea. To me, we just needed to get married and get away into our own little world where we would blossom and love would solve everything.
Well, we might have a few disagreements. But that’s nothing new. We haven’t had any trouble working things out before now. Why should marriage make trouble happen for us? You just don’t know us. Everybody else thinks we’re the perfect match!
Fast forward to our first winter together (no more make-believe). I begin having little nagging thoughts and fears about us. Nothing awful. Just a nagging feeling that things aren’t quite right. It isn’t about what we’re doing. It’s about what I’m not getting that I thought I was getting.
I thought I married a man who wanted to listen to me, especially when I feel distressed, down, bored, and unsure what to do with myself. So why does he want me to stop talking so much? Why does he seem to have a solution before I finish telling him the problem? Why is it so easy for him to just go right back to work on his papers, books, and deep academic thoughts? Doesn’t he care about me?
He keeps asking me what I need to be happy. I think I’m telling him that—or trying to tell him that. No one ever asked me that question before. How should I know what makes me happy? Aren’t men supposed to know that?
Still, it’s early. We’ll get through this. We haven’t been married one full year yet. It will pass. You’ll see.
To be continued….
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 20 May 2015
Image from beaconstreetusa.com