When Craig and I were first married, I was really bothered by all the things we didn't have in common. We didn't share taste in music or movies. We didn't agree on most political matters. We approached religion really differently. We didn't have years of shared experiences from high school or college. We're both bookworm English-major-y people, but we go for different kinds of books and are mystified by the literary choices the other one makes. I was used to living with my former roommate and best friend, with whom I had millions of things in common, and it was surprisingly hard to adjust to the new reality of living with someone who didn't match me in all these ways.
I'm not sure why it was so hard, but I think part of it was this idea I had of what it meant to be "perfect" for each other. A good friend of mine once told me that she and her high school boyfriend had both been allergic to gluten, and somehow, this shared trait felt like a sign. "It was like we were so perfect for each other that we had to even share the same allergy," she said. I guess I wanted some of those mystical signs to solidify my relationship with my new husband.
It's a few years later now, and I feel like I've leapt that particular hurdle. Craig's conservative; I'm liberal. I like folksy independent music; he likes classical and emotionally-charged rock. It's cool with me. We don't have to be the same to be in love.
The beauty of so many things - painting, composing, photography, a nature scene, or a marriage - is in balance, finding the complementary ratios of filled and empty space, of sunlight and shadow, of the different musical instruments. Harmony, not note-for-note unison. Craig and I complement each other, I think. And it's the most meaningful thing when I look back on our whole relationship and realize that I've never felt inferior to him, never felt like I had to change myself. I feel like I've always been perfect for him and he's always been perfect for me, perhaps because of our differences rather than in spite of them.
I've been in relationships before where I felt like I needed to change in order to be a good match for my boyfriend. I thought that the desire to improve myself meant that I must really love the person, and maybe it did, but after meeting and marrying Craig, I have a different vision of what it means to be in love. I feel like I'll still have Craig's heart as I evolve through the coming years, becoming a better person, but the person that I already am is exactly what he wants. And the person he already is is exactly what I want, too. I think love means loving the whole person, not picking and choosing the parts you prefer.
Craig is a wonderful husband. He gives me the Jolly Rancher flavors I like. He sacrifices for me. He supports me. He's a true and complete person, all on his own, with all of his flaws and qualities, and I'm just so happy that I get to have him in my life.
What do you love about your significant other?