Monday, October 09, 2006

Point-Counterpoint

Relationships are a funny thing. Early in our relationship, my wife and I used to argue about whether you should expect your partner to "complete" you, or whether a relationship can survive (or at least avoid dysfunction) only if you both come to it as two complete individuals. Whether you're two halves of a whole, a single soul in two bodies, a yin and a yang, whatever, or two somethings orbiting around each other, held together by mutual attraction. Over time, I've come to the conclusion that the answer is "yes".

To look at us, my wife and I are almost two sides of the same coin; perhaps a coin with some melted spots where you can't really distinguish the two sides. I never realized with how many things, from the trivial to the significant, there are actually opposite ways to accomplish them. There are two ways to hang shirts (facing left or facing right); two ways to fold napkins and sheets (final fold on the bottom/top edge, or on the left/right edge); two ways to think of the color "peach" (the inside of the fruit, or the outside of the fruit). The list goes on and on. This morning I told her about an available freezer that "doesn't run all the time" meaning that, unlike our current freezer, it actually stays cold without having to run all the time, while she wondered if I wanted to use it like an armoire since it didn't work all the time. She's usually the emotional one, while I'm rational, but when I get emotional she calms right down. She tends to focus on the negative ("these bathrobes are scratchy; how Mendocino") while I tend to focus on the positive ("yeah, but the barn cat is really sweet"). Over the years we've rubbed off on each other some -- she'll focus more on the view while I'll see the can of Campbell's Soup in the cupboard in "Witness" -- but overall.... no.

My point is simply this: if you're lucky, opposites attract. A different perspective can teach you things about the world you would never have found on your own. You balance each other's weaknesses. Is that completion, or orbit? "Yes." Happy anniversary, sweetie.

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