I’ve noticed something, after watching friends pack their cars. There seems to be one half of a couple who likes to place items meticulously, and another who “rams it all in”. I’ve heard the discussions numerous times. It makes me chuckle because it is exactly like this in our family.
My heritage is being the daughter of a precision-packer. I don’t remember my Mam ever being the one to pack the car, but I know that with my Dad everything had a place. It was a bit like dry-stone walling. You had to make sure the big pieces of luggage were in perfectly, then fit the smaller things around them.
My husband and I frequently have the same conversation just before we leave – “It’s not going to fit. We’ll have to leave it behind”. I’m afraid this is like a red rag to a bull. It WILL fit, even if I have to take everything out and start again. Actually, I wonder if my hilarious husband realises this and amuses himself by reeling me in every time??
We have noticed that our children are following this tradition. My husband was horrified that I used to like the books on my shelves being in height-order. (Since children, that has gone by the board…) My son spent half an hour categorising his books into colour order. While this was amusing to see when our alarm went off, it was less funny for his sister, who had to listen to every book being banged against the wall in an attempt to get her to get up early to play with him.
Our daughter couldn’t care less what her book shelf looks like. When she is playing with toys, she painstakingly organises them to assist in her play, but when she is finished, they are all shoved away without concern. (Or not put away at all – but that is another story.) She also brings in toys from other sets – Lego and Barbies together. What? I find this most stressful! This is way out of my experience.
Perhaps we need this in our relationships. I cannot imagine how we would ever get away if both my husband and I thought we ought to be the one to pack the car. We need complementary skills. I used to be really good at things like changing fuses in plugs until I got married. Naturally, we need to have similarities for our relationships to work. If we have nothing at all in common, we may struggle to find things to unite us.
We may have areas in which we need to agree. It may be that our core beliefs need to match. Or that there are certain things we will not compromise on. Friendships and relationships require things to bind us, but we do not need to have all of the same interests. After all, variety is the spice of life. Having a balance between our similarities and differences is important.
For me, having a sense of humour and being able to laugh at ourselves is crucial. My husband and I can find fun in our differences, which I feel makes us stronger. So, enjoy your similarities, but also embrace what is different. Just because we have differences doesn’t mean we are not compatible.
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