By: Shannon Ralph
I went on my first date with the love of my life 18 years ago. At the time, everyone we knew thought it wouldn’t last. Everyone we knew actually told us it wouldn’t last. We were too different. Polar opposites, even. I was raised on the west side of town. She was raised on the east. I was somewhat reserved. She was anything but. I loved politics and Thai food and watching Little Women every night before I went to bed. Ruanita loved Jägermeister and dancing and watching really horrible 80s-era lesbian flicks. I was an avid reader and a wannabe writer. The entirety of her daily reading consisted of maybe perusing the captions below the photos in People Magazine.
Don’t get me wrong. She was brilliant. She was in graduate school at the time. She had her wits about her in a way that was intimidating. And she knew who she was. She made no effort whatsoever to be anyone else.
When Ruanita and I met in a children’s psychiatric hospital in Kentucky where we both worked at the time, it was apathy at first sight. I thought she was too loud and used the F word entirely too often for my tastes. She thought I was dull and tame and…well, dull. We were doomed from the start. It would never last.
But we are still here. Three kids and 18 years later, we are still here. “Here” has changed houses and cities and states along the way, but we have been together since our first kiss in a shabby little gay bar in Southern Indiana. Still married. Still plugging along, happily enjoying one another’s company.
How is it that two complete opposites can agree on anything long enough to make it to a second date, much less create a life together? How is it that two complete opposites can raise children together? Make life-long goals together?
It’s not as strange as it may seem on the surface. There is a lot of truth to the old adage “opposites attract.” Introverts attract extroverts, spenders attract savers, morning people attract night owls, doers attract planners, adrenaline-junkies attract security-seekers. We tend to be drawn to people who both contradict and complement our dominant characteristics. This can create interesting challenges, but—as long as your basic value system is aligned—there are also many perks to marrying your polar opposite.
Maybe that’s what marriage is all about? Finding that one person—YOUR person—who helps you become a better man or woman. A better parent. That person who makes you become a better YOU–no matter how hard you fight them along the way.
Photo Credit: Studio Tdes
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Originally published on The Seattle Lesbian
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