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When Opposites Attract
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When people ask how I met my husband, I tell them, “Our eyes met across a crowded room.”

And in the days, weeks and months that followed, I found myself attracted to him because we were so much alike. We both had a heart for ministry and had chosen to make that our life’s work. We both loved people. We both loved nature and enjoyed the simple things in life. And we both had a deep love and devotion to family.

As we got to know each other better, I also realized that we were opposite in some areas. But I liked that. I didn’t want to have a relationship with someone who was a mirror of me. I actually thought that our differences made life more interesting and fun.

And then we got married!

Don’t misunderstand. We love each other. We think we made the right choice. And after 29 years, we can’t imagine ourselves with any one else. True, being opposite in some areas does make life more interesting, but I wouldn’t say it always makes life more fun. In fact, it can make life more challenging.

We are most opposite in that Keith is very deliberate and disciplined. I am very spontaneous and impulsive. At first he thought my trait was cute and I thought his was strong. But to be honest sometimes these opposite traits can be frustrating and annoying. Years ago I came up with this quote to describe us and told Keith: 

“If we were both like me, we wouldn’t get anything done. If we were both like you, we wouldn’t have any fun!”

That is, of course, an exaggeration. I am quite deliberate and disciplined in certain areas of my life. And Keith is a lot of fun when we’re alone or with a group of people. But we do have to understand and adjust. Here’s what we work at doing:

  • We accept our differences. There are both good and bad sides to these opposite traits we have. And they are what make us each unique individuals.

  • We appreciate our differences. When my spontaneity comes out to plan a party, holiday or family night, Keith let’s me know how appreciative he is. And when he knows where that receipt is when I need to do a return, or prints out a vacation checklist so I don’t forget something important, I let him know he’s appreciated.

  • We minimize our weaknesses. We don’t work at trying to change each other, but do offer ways in which we can keep our differences healthy. If either of us gets too extreme, we talk about it.
  • We capitalize on our strengths. We often talk about the things that we each contribute to make our marriage strong, as well as affirm each other in these areas.
Marriage brings two very different individuals to live under the same roof. So don’t be surprised or disappointed when opposite traits appear. Instead, accept, appreciate, minimize and capitalize. It works for us!

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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