October 09, 2009

A Secret of Marriage

Please note that the title is not "THE" secret of marriage. Also, I am not a psychologist, nor am I a published relationship self-help author, I've just known loads of people in all kinds of relationships and certain patterns emerge just from observation.
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I consider Melissa and I to be a well-balanced couple, and that word BALANCED is the key. (I never was very good at essays obviously, since I drop that in the first line.) As I see it, successful marriages are based on roughly 70% compatibility and 30% acceptable or desired differences in personalities. Compatibility does not mean absolute carbon-copied similarity, all-too-similar couples I've met either get bored with nothing new being added to the mix, or one of them is lying. Either way, they're in trouble.

That 30% of desirable difference appears to be the key to mutually rewarding and lasting relationships. We are attracted to people who have qualities that we don't have ourselves (obvious plumbing differences aside). For example, Melissa and I are worlds apart in our communication. She is probably the most outgoing person I have met and has no trouble striking up conversations with complete strangers, laying the smack down on deserving jerks or speaking her mind--loudly--about anything. At the other end of the graph is me. Apart from a brief onstage persona I took on while performing at UGA, the real me is painfully shy and very self-conscious about what I say. So the symbiosis of our relationship in this regard is that she gives me the confidence (or kick in the ass) I need to speak up when required, and I give her temperance to not say things that could get her in trouble, or at least paraphrase them a bit.

You can't reduce a marriage down to the interplay of a single characteristic, but there always seems to be this symbiosis of personality in the happiest couples that I've met over the years.

[Todays "Nugget O' Wisdom" brought to you by Chris having Trouble Sleeping. Yessss...Trouble Sleeping at Night-- chock full of wandering ideas and things you never could quite put your finger on. Available at all fine retailers nationwide.]