Happily Incompatible

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After hearing how my husband and I met (which is a long crazy story) a new friend asked, “And you guys just match? You fit each other so well?” (You see, we come from two completely different cultures and upbringing.)

The automatic answer was “Sure!” However, I got to thinking about it later. I don’t think that’s the whole truth. We don’t necessarily match.

Happily Incompatible

Happy 14th Anniversary, Honey!

I’m a fairly healthy eater and love a plate of veggies. He lives by the adage, “If it ain’t fried, it ain’t food” and thinks we haven’t eaten if it didn’t include beef.

I’m an adventurous foodie. “Look, I found a new recipe for seaweed!” He would eat the same three meals on steady rotation.

I like girly, warm fuzzy romantic comedies. He likes a movie with a healthy dose of violence, death and car chases.

I’d like to spend a vacation at a bed and breakfast by the beach. One year for our anniversary he took me to a water-theme park.

Yet, my idea of a perfect day off is my hundred closest friends over for a BBQ.  His idea of a perfect day off is not getting dressed. Or off the couch.

To relax, I write.  The more I’m stressed or worried, the more I write.  To relax, he watches TV or plays computer games. He writes when it is assigned and carries a deadline.

The only language I speak (well) is English (I don’t count my feeble attempts at Mongolian anymore).  My husband speaks three and reads four and thinks it’s no big deal.

I detest shopping. I go into the store, find what I need and get out as quickly as possible. My husband spends hours and days micro-comparing consumer reports, product details, price and quality of every purchase.

Neither of us ever suffer buyer’s remorse. My husband, because he chose so perfectly the first time. Me, because I really don’t care.

I get where I’m going early, sometimes so early it’s awkward. He is getting in the shower at 10:40 and church starts at 11.

As for art, he likes Ansel Adams. I like Monet.

You can always tell who drove the van last by what comes through the speakers when you turn the car on. Bee Gees = Gana. AM Talk Radio = Daja.

I’m an unschooler, heavy on learning through experiences and pursuing your passions. He’s more of a classic educator, instilling character through disciplines.

I’ve been the goodie-goodie most of my life. He’s been the wild child.

I think that my husband and I are what Billy and Ruth Graham called “happily incompatible.” Can such opposites co-exist and even enjoy life together? YES! And sometimes such opposites can irritate the living daylights out of each other and they start quarreling over the variety of apples purchased at the Farmer’s Market.

Billy Graham said, Ruth and I don’t have a perfect marriage, but we have a great one. In a perfect marriage, everything is always the finest and best imaginable; like a Greek statue, the proportions are exact and the finish is unblemished. Who knows any human beings like that? For a married couple to expect perfection in each other is unrealistic. We learned that even before we married. The unblemished ideal exists only in “happily ever after” fairy tales. I think that there is some merit to a description I once read of a married couple as “happily incompatible.” Ruth likes to say, “If two people agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary.” The sooner we accept that as a fact of life, the better we will be able to adjust to each other and enjoy togetherness. 

And I think I’m finally–finally–after 14 years of matrimony learning that this is OK. I’m an emotional one and when we have a spat the enemy of marriage–the devil–tries to lie to me: “He doesn’t love you anymore!” I know it’s a lie. He does love me. He just wanted Red Delicious and not Fuji.  I’m finally learning to not try to remake the man I married and to let him be who he is. I’m learning that marriage isn’t really a fifties sitcom (although, wouldn’t it be great to vacuum in heels and pearls?). Marriage is vastly more interesting than that, especially when married to someone who is different from me. It’s challenging and exciting and crazy and romantic and surprising….and so….DAILY.

Marriage means having someone to run to. It means having someone to run my hair-brained ideas by before I expose them to the world. It means someone who makes fun of me and someone I can make fun of. Marriage means I have a man whose vision I have pledged to support. I am a help-meet to someone who needs my help—just maybe not in the way I thought he did. And maybe not in the he thought he did, either.  Marriage means someone who begins and ends each day with me—someone who is a living witness to my life and my journey with God.

He is my secret keeper. And I am his.

Sometimes two opposites are perfect for each other. They are counter-balances.  Sometimes compatibility is overrated.  My husband and I are two extremes. Together we make a happy moderate.


  1. jaqueline - August 15, 2014

    i like reading yr posts when i can daja, yr a great writer 🙂

  2. I think the reason so many couples are opposites is so that we can help each
    other. I am short (5 feet tall), my hubby is 6 feet 3 inches tall. I get the stuff that is located low and he reaches the items stored in our top cabinets. 

    That is one tiny example of how our differences help each of us with our shortcomings.

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