• October 23, 2014

Differences balance out relationship

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Posted: Friday, February 28, 2014 4:30 am

We sat on a stoop outside The Gin restaurant in Belton on Sunday afternoon, eating frozen yogurt and staring into the warm winter sun.

My husband sat next to me, scooping up huge spoonfuls of his favorite combo — vanilla yogurt topped with vanilla chips.

In contrast, my yogurt bowl was filled with a kaleidoscope of color. I had chosen small helpings of various yogurt flavors, from pink lemonade and cake batter to root beer float and pomegranate. The rest of the bowl was filled with an assortment of berries, nuts and candy.

As we sat in the sun, I thought about how our yogurt choices mirrored our personalities.

My hubby is very conservative, straight-laced and sweet — much like his vanilla-on-vanilla dessert.

My personality, on the other hand, is a mish-mash of ever-changing and often crazy emotions, beliefs and thought processes. With me, you never know what you’re going to get — much like spoonfuls of my yogurt.

At this late age of mine (did I mention I’m almost at the half-century mark?), I think I’ve learned a lot about relationships.

Through many years of trial and lots of error, I’m finally at a place where I can objectively and honestly view the differences between my husband and me in a positive light.

Most importantly, I can accept and appreciate those differences as integral parts of the glue that holds our marriage together.

Once upon a time, when I was young and dumb, I thought I wanted a man who was just like me. I believed only someone who thought like me, talked like me and wanted the same things in life as me would be able to understand the true Kristi. Only then could I ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after.

After my first divorce, I looked for a man like that and I found him. But it didn’t take long for me to realize I didn’t really want to spend the rest of my life with someone just like me. I just don’t like myself enough to put up with two of us.

When my husband came along, I knew right away he was different. In many ways, he’s the exact opposite of me (hence, the yogurt analogy.) But here’s the thing that made me fall in love: He’s a dichotomy. He’s a yin-yang. His conservative personality is balanced by an edginess that most people never see. He showed it to me, though, and that was enough.

I believe balance is extremely important in life. I strive for balance daily — emotionally, socially and professionally. I’m hard on myself. If I feel I’ve over-indulged in something -— eating, drinking, Facebooking, being cranky to my husband — a switch in my brain goes off and I put on the brakes.

This doesn’t mean I’m perfect by any means. In fact, this way of thinking — constantly struggling to balance the yin and the yang — often makes me crazy. As a result, I am my own worst critic.

But in my marriage, the balance is good.

Our unique and very different personalities offset each other. I can be me and he can be Chuck. I can talk to myself in the kitchen, break out in spontaneous a capella singing in the car and laugh loudly at my own jokes (even if he doesn’t.) He can talk endlessly about college football stats, work out religiously at the gym and refuse to drink coffee (even if I don’t.)

At the end of the day, when our yogurt cups are empty, we are there together on that stoop, watching the winter sun set behind the trees. Our individual colors fade and blend and become one soft pastel shade of blue, much like the color of the stone in my wedding ring.

Coincidence? I think not.

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