Our Differences Are Our Strength
My husband and I have a really wonderful relationship. That is not to say that we are never challenged with differences of opinion. Over time, I have learned, that our effort to meet in the middle and retain our individual perspectives is the very thing that makes our partnership strong. I think that is the place where a lot of couples get stuck. We are raised to believe that we are supposed to present a united front, and that if we do not we have somehow failed. That is not exactly true. Sometimes, if we can learn to embrace our differences and be grateful for them, we can achieve much more in the long run.
I am completely cynical; I am always questioning everything. Alternatively, my husband trusts easily. He transfers his intense belief in himself to the people that he believes in, and as a result they rarely let him down. Without my husband, I would rarely venture to trust anyone with anything. He nudges me forward, (usually gently), into relationships, and ventures that I would be too skeptical to attempt without him. Then to his side, I am sometimes able to ground him a bit when he has become so enthusiastic about something; I fear that he has lost the full perspective.
We approach parenting from opposite directions as well. I am a born disciplinarian. Though it often exhausts me, I an constantly on top of my kids to clean up their messes, say please and thank you, be nice, and not roll their eyes. I am terrible at playing however. I can play a board game, and I can teach them how to complete a task any day of the week. I am also really good at sharing information, but I do not play. My husband is great at playing with the kids. They all go to the park to play soccer, and he takes them to the YMCA. I run on my own in peace. We come to agreements remarkably well on how to punish the kids, somehow we magically meet in the middle. Our complimentary personalities are also good at noticing different behaviors in our kids that we might need to address. I recently decided put some drastic limits on the television that they are allowed to watch. My husband has a strong focus on helping my oldest daughter deal with her anger, which is something that I have no idea how to address. I can’t seem to muster up any empathy for her exaggerated tween angst, whereas my husband somehow, has the ability to understand it.
Ironically, one of our biggest challenges is coping when one of us is not at our best. If my husband knows that I am upset or unhappy about something, his functionality takes an enormous hit. I am the same way, I am absolutely miserable when he gets sick. So, we both have an unspoken understanding that we need to do our best to be at our best, so that our partner can be at theirs as well. I guess it’s kind of creepy how symbiotic we are. My nature makes me flinch at that fact, but I shouldn’t. As women, I think that we are raised to see ourselves as weak if we aren’t able to be one hundred percent independent at the drop of a hat. The thing is that interdependence, is a step beyond independence. Once we have grown up and can take care of ourselves, the next step is having the guts to depend on someone else, and to allow them to depend on us. It takes a leap of faith, and I sure as hell am glad that I took the leap with him.