3 Tips For Staying Married To Your Complete Opposite

Clearly, my husband Brian and I have a few things in common:

But our willing dismissal of dignity for the sake of a good photo with a stone sea lion is pretty much where our similarities end.

This used to bug me. I’m much more accustomed to falling in love with guys who are exactly like me, but with a penis.

In fact, just the other day, Brian sarcastically apologized for not being a nerdy, spiritual, shy, non-drinker. I sarcastically apologized for not being a video game-addicted, bar hopping, sassy girl who dresses like Avril Lavigne.

I think the only reason Brian has kept me around so long is because of all the young women he’s ever dated (or potentially dated), I bring the least amount of drama into his life. While he thinks he likes edgy girls, they always end up ruining his life by getting him punched in the face by their crazy ex-boyfriends. (True story, by the way.) The fact that Brian hasn’t been punched in years is due, in large part, to me being a fairly Zen and extremely boring woman.

And that’s the funny thing about choosing a good life partner — what you want and what you need are different. We want a mirror of ourselves, but what we need is someone who challenges us, inspires us to be better, and loves us even if we can’t change.

But being betrothed to your opposite can be infuriating. It might just drive you to go all Lorena Bobbitt on your man. And he might want do the female equivalent to you. (Which means cutting off one of your boobs, maybe? Which…ouch! But I digress.)

The big secret to staying married to your complete opposite is something I discovered during our recent “second Honeymoon” (I know, how First World of us.) to Australia: Opposites must find ways for their differences to aid each others individual personal development. Because growth is essentially a one-way ticket to happiness. And if you’re a happy person, you probably won’t go Lorena Bobbitt on your partner no matter how challenging he or she gets.

Here are 3 examples of how to leverage your challenging relationship to ensure a life of balance, beauty, and balls:

  • Your water-loving partner might force you to take surfing lessons with him despite your fear of the ocean. You might find that you’re more naturally gifted at this sport than your husband, and so you surf right past him before he’s even able to learn how to stand up on his board. As you float by he might say, “I hate you.” But in fact, he loves you for honoring his request, and you love him for forcing you to be brave and surprise yourself.

  • Your love of science and history vacations might clash with your partner’s love of relaxing beach vacations. This forces you two to practice the art of compromise. Sometimes this makes for some pretty interesting experiences, like listening to an informative talk about camels from a man who lets you ride his camels (one of whom is named Obama) along a pristine beach.

  • You can be each others hero because, as opposites, your panic attacks are set off by very different things. So when he’s freaking out about flying across the Pacific Ocean, you remain unphased by it, which frees you up to stroke his back as he downs a whiskey at the airport bar. And while you’re cursing like a sailor as you abseil down a cliff at the start of a cave diving tour, he’s laughing at all your nervous jokes, which cheers you up because although you’re a coward, at least you’re an entertaining one.

Final Thoughts

I have a very unromantic (and thus, unpopular) view of marriage, so bare with me: I am kept sane despite being married to my opposite because my world does not revolve around him

When I was younger, I wanted to marry someone who was a more awesome version of myself, so that I’d always be happy and inspired simply by being in the presence of a man who is everything I’d like to be. How easy life would feel! But nowadays, I’d rather just strive to be the best version of myself, and find someone who helps me do that, even if it happens the hard way.

Your Turn: How do you stay married to your complete opposite?





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13 Responses to 3 Tips For Staying Married To Your Complete Opposite

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  4. Christine says:

    Kim, you rocked this! I was just in the middle of getting upset over a remark my husband made regarding me allegedly yelling at him when all I remember doing was CALL for him to come to the table 3.. er…4, no 5 times while he took his sweet time getting up from the couch. (I am so type A and he is so calm, infuriatingly calm). That and the fact that earlier today I was also trying to talk to him regarding some nonsense I already forgot and he was very fixated on fixing our robotic vacuum cleaner. After reading your article, I realized that I should be thankful my husband doesn’t scream at me to feed him and that he is not the type to leave things undone once he sets his heart on it. (Otherwise, I will have to suffer cleaning the house without my Rumba). Thank you for this eye-opener. Sometimes the simple truth is so hard to see. I am so glad you are brave enough to open up your (both yours and Brian’s) lives to us.

    • Kimberly says:

      Hi Christine, so glad this one resonated with you. It sounds like I’m similar to your husband in some ways…and from our perspective, we sure are lucky to have partners who can light a fire under our butts when we’re infuriatingly calm, unresponsive, or complacent. So here’s to our opposites– for complimenting, balancing, and stretching us! Thanks so much for your comment!

  5. Moz says:

    Being panicked by different things? I think that’s the kicker (not surprising given I am an anxious person).

    Sometimes an anxious person marries a calm person, and that’s brilliant if that makes them both happy. But my parents (married almost 32 years) are neither of them one or the other. They get crazy over different things.

    So I think that’s the big one.


    • Kimberly says:

      Oh, it’s awesome when a couple gets panicked by different things. Brian freaks out when driving through busy city roads, and I freak out when I drive on dark country roads. So we always know who should be driving and when we should switch off.

      Surfing was incredible– definitely one of my most memorable experiences there!!

  6. Sheryl says:

    Bunny and I are pretty opposite – he’s outdoorsy, hands on and often embodies some very traditional masculine stereotypes, whereas I’m happiest away from wind, rain and snow, like to do a lot of abstract and theoretical thinking, and embody a lot of traditional feminine stereotypes.

    Three things have been key for us. Encouraging each other to explore our interests and dreams even if we have no clue what exactly is so appealing about them. Thus, I send him off to work on engines and then listen to him talk about them because they make his heart sing, and he gives me quilting classes even though it seems like the most boring thing ever to him. Like you and Brian, we also find ways to do activities outside of our comfort zone because the other wants to which expands both of our horizons. The other thing that’s been big for us is finding ways to do our separate things together, on a smaller basis. I can do crafty stuff while he plays video games or puts together model cars, and we can talk and laugh and enjoy being in the same space.

    • Kimberly says:

      Your way of supporting (and surviving) your opposite is awesome– both of you get what you need and give what you can. Brian and I use those same 3 approaches. One thing that’s helped me is hanging out with people who are like me in ways that Brian simply isn’t.

  7. Your one and only FIL says:

    Here is the simple truth – and the simplest response. Your marriage to Brian mirrors our marriage. Nancy and I are opposites to the extreme. Our lives do not revolve around each other. Love however has built the bridge that has kept us connected for 35 years. I’m ecstatic that you seem so aware of the power of opposites coming together. J hope and pray that you can enjoy life together as only opposites can until the breath of God and life leaves your bodies.

  8. Steph says:

    This post was so worth waiting until actual Thursday for. I don’t have much to add as your description of the opposite-ness of you and Brian (as usual) scarily mirrors the opposite-ness (both the good and the bad) of me and Ben. That, and I can so relate to pre-Ben falling for guys who were like me with a penis

    • Kimberly says:

      Aww, thanks! Yes, and it’s funny how with the 4 of us, I mesh so well with you while the guys mesh so well with each other. INFPs and ENFJs, right? We are drawn to the ones who can balance us!

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