Compatibility

Apr 28, 2019


Today Mike and I have been married for fourteen years.

I've spent the last year or so noticing, with some humor, the many ways that Mike and I differ. It seems I often have a very high tolerance for the very things he has a low tolerance for and vice versa.

Some might say these many things make us incompatible, but I like to think it's just the opposite. By having different strengths and weakness, contrasting points of view, and a wide array of interests, we make up for what the other lacks, and consequently, we are becoming something that is truly whole.

Some of those things are big, some are small, and some are just plain silly and don't matter in the slightest. Here's a little sampling:

Microwave popcorn: I feel like I've nailed the time on microwave popcorn if I have just a few burnt kernels but no old maids. Mike would prefer the opposite.

Softened butter: Mike has the art of softening a stick of butter down to a science--seven seconds on this side, five seconds on that side, etc. That takes entirely too long for me. I would rather it was a little (or even a lot) melted rather than spend all that time babying it.

Leftovers in the microwave: Similar to the butter example, Mike carefully warms up leftovers, stirring or rotating them frequently so that everything is evenly heated. I almost always eat food that has a mixture of hot and cold spots in it. It's not a big deal.

Parking spaces: I would rather find a wide open parking space and have to hike two miles in than back into a tight parallel parking spot. Mike doesn't even realize this is something to be anxious about and does it with one hand, in the dark, with a line of cars stacked up behind him.

Temperature: I cry with the first cold front of the fall; Mike cries with the first warm spell of spring. I park myself in front of my space heater; he does the same with his portable fan. (There is maybe even a slight chance we have done this at the same time before, on opposite sides of the bed.) On the rare golden days where we are both comfortable, we know that must be the temperature in heaven.

Dishes: We don't own a dishwasher and have never owned one during our fourteen years of marriage (technically, we had one for three months when we house-sat for someone the summer after we got married, but I think that doesn't really count). Neither one of us minds washing the dishes, but Mike doesn't like washing utensils, and I don't like washing pots and pans, so we often save those things for the other person.

Fizzy drinks: Neither of us are big soda drinkers, but Mike loves carbonation. As such, his go to drink is a can of sparkling water (his favorite brand is Bubly). There are times when I want one too, but I can only drink about fifteen percent of it before the carbonation gets to me. So now, anytime Mike cracks one open, he pours about an inch of it into my cup and downs the rest in ten seconds while I spend the next five minutes slowly sipping mine. It works out great.

Plastic grocery bags: Every time Mike goes to the grocery store, he saves every single plastic grocery bag. Even if the holder is already stuffed and the bags are spilling over the sides into our pantry, he still tries to add a few more. To balance this out, I often have to throw away a couple of handfuls just to hold the stockpile at bay. (Lest you think this has anything to do with Mike's concern for the environment, and my lack thereof, think again. In general, I pay more attention to environmental issues and concerns than Mike does.)

Meal Planning: My version of this consists of sitting down at the beginning of the week, planning out what we want to eat, rotating through meals we like, while adding in a couple new recipes for the sake of variety. Mike's version looks more like running to the grocery store, wandering the aisles looking for something that is on sale, and then bringing everything home and throwing it all together in a culinary masterpiece.

Damp clothes: I do not pull the clothes out of the dryer until they are dry. I do not like folding damp clothes at all. Mike, on the other hand, would rather just get through the laundry. Of course I'm always grateful for his help, but inevitably, if he's switching out the laundry, there are bound to be baskets of damp jeans.

Test scores: When Mike and I were in college, we approached studying for tests very differently. I was aiming for 100 percent. Always. He was sad if he ever got anything above a 94 because it meant he had studied too hard.

Shopping with kids: I say, "Now that you're home, I'm going to run to the store so that I don't have to bring the kids." He says, "Hey guys, I'm home! Who wants to run to the store with me?"

Going out for breakfast: I love going out for breakfast. It feels super indulgent and special to me. In contrast, Mike feels like paying for breakfast is a waste of money. Our marriage became a lot happier when I realized I should stop taking Mike out for breakfast on his birthdays, and he realized he should start taking me out for breakfast on mine.

Observations: I tend to pay attention to names and faces, Mike to landmarks and directions--a fact that was very obvious this past week while we were on a little anniversary trip to New York City.

If anything, the past fourteen years have taught us that some differences are assets, others can be worked through, and most don't matter. But I'm so grateful I get to figure it all out with someone who knows me so well and loves me in spite of everything.


3 comments:

  1. Love you guys soo sooo much. Talking to y'all last night was so fun! Let's do it again.

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  2. Happy anniversary! Hope you got to go out for breakfast! :)

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  3. I loved this Amy! I'm a tiny bit creeped out that it looks like you married a 16 year old version of Aaron... spitting image! But then again you look about 16 to me as well. You both get more amazing by the year! What would we have done if you both hadn't found each other... it's like sweet and salty, James and I can't think of a combo that we love more.

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