Monday, February 6, 2012

A Letter to Joy: Opposites Attract

Joy and I are writing each other on our blogs each Monday, as part of a Marriage Letters series started by a fellow blogging couple Seth and Amber Haines. We're doing it to celebrate our marriage, and encourage couples everywhere to keep fighting for their own. Today is our 4th installment in the series. This week we landed on the daunting topic of "opposites attract."

Dear Joy,

My first clue that we’re quite a bit different came during our 1996 Spring Quarter in college. It was the night of those terrible flash floods on campus—remember? We weren’t really even “dating” yet. We barely knew each other.

I was settling in for my usual evening of sedentary study when you rang my dorm phone.

“Come out to the lobby for a sec,” you said.

I walked out to find you standing there with your friend, Lisa. Both of you were soaked to the skin with rainwater.

“Lisa and I are slip-and-sliding in the flooded field, out by the dorm. Wanna come out with us?” (This is an actual photo from that moment. I have no idea who took it, or how I got it.)

Every bone in my body wanted to say, “Heck, no.” That photo of me? That is my “Heck, no” face. But I knew you well enough to know that you simply wouldn’t accept that answer.

I eventually went back to my dorm room, put on my oldest clothes and, with a mixture of frustration and trepidation, met you and Lisa in the parking lot. My hall mates’ jaws dropped as I walked out of the room. “This is completely out of character for you, Scotty,” they jeered. “It must be love.” They must have been right.

Little did I know that my slip-and-slide escapade in that flooded field with you that night would set the rhythm of our relationship from there on out.

I am the quintessential stand-back-and-watch-until-the-coast-is-clear kind of guy, while you’re a why-bother-waiting-for-the-ice-to-break kind of girl. I’m content to sit on the back row and keep my questions to myself, while you lean forward on the front row with your hand raised high. I could go on for days about all the ways we’re different.

To make things even more interesting, we each violate the stereotypes of our respective gender. I am the epitome of a feeling, sensing, perceiving introvert. You’re an equally strong thinking, intuitive, compartmentalizing extrovert. It’s been quite comical to see the faces of those who have counseled us in the past. They really don’t know what to do with us.

Finding our way hasn’t been the easiest thing in the world. But we seem to have found a method for melding our proclivities into a rhythm that’s quite a thing to behold.

Based on our experience, I’m a firm believer that opposites make great marriages. In our 13 years, you have dragged me out of many proverbial dorm rooms to puddle dive with you in the rainwater. I have tried things I would have never tried without your persistent elbow poking my rib cage.

And I think I’ve helped you in equally opposite ways—encouraging you to pause a little longer until the time is better to speak, or write, or call, or commit. Together, we’ve stretched and saved each other’s necks more times than I can count.

I can’t credit myself for having the foresight to find someone like you. On paper, it’s pure insanity. But it’s just like God to shatter statistics and create inseparability from two oppositely charged particles like us.

Keeping my ion you,

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