He piles spicy peppers on his breakfast eggs; I once licked a jalapeño, The End.
He likes his beer as red as his beard was when we met; I’ll always reach for the pale ale (unless there’s a mojito on the table, in which case all bets are off).
He once spent a semester tutoring me in math so I could in turn teach it to my SAT students without crying; I once spent a semester tutoring him in English so he could pass an exam marry me.
He runs marathons for fun; I have a vastly different understanding of the word “fun.” (Of course, I would consider getting buried alive in a library fun, so maybe we can just agree to politely mock each other’s definitions ‘til death do us part.)
His 6’2” ≠ my 5’6”.
He relaxes after work by getting together with friends; I relax by getting as antisocial as possible.
He keeps his t-shirt collection in circulation year-round; I burrow under duvets in August.
He grew up speaking Venetian; I grew up speaking Christianese.
He appreciates a lively discussion; I would rather run a marathon while doing tongue trigonometry with habaneros than debate politics.
He prefers to work out our disagreements face to face in the honesty of the moment; I prefer to work them out with the solitude of my journal and the perspective of elapsed time.
As the saying goes, opposites attract.
During those warm Texas nights when we’d sneak away from campus to talk for hours, uninterrupted, until night turned to morning around us and our reputations began to register as lost causes, we saw only the shared wavelength of our thoughts. I still count our minds’ chemistry among the most precious gifts of my life. But eight years (and twenty-seven days, if you want to get all precise up in here) of marriage have given our differences their fair share of stage time, and I’m a little amazed that I ever thought of us as birds of a feather.
Of course, we have a few things in common now that we didn’t have back then. When we tiptoe into our little girls’ bedroom every night to rescue covers from a tangle of sleep-flung limbs, the smile we share on the way out is uniquely ours. The way our bodies interlock as we hug, molded to each other over eight years and twenty-seven days of babies and marathons and travels and sharing a bed, transcends any others’ touch. Our joint account holds the memories of our first five homes together (plus the two that weren’t really ours), the course changes we’ve seen each other through, and the dreams that have grown up alongside of us.
We still hear each other through the noise of life, and I pray never to take our soul-compatibility for granted. But truth be told, I don’t think I would be writing this today if not for a partner who consistently introduces me to new experiences, keeps me social despite myself, pulls me out of hiding time and time again, and manages to surprise me every time I’m sure I’ve got him all figured out. I’d even venture to say, poor math skills notwithstanding, that he + I = just right.
(Plus, it turns out we do agree on one or two definitions of fun…)