Compatibility Is Overrated

Over the past decade or so, it has become apparent that my husband and I are completely incompatible:

  • He’s a pack rat.  I’m a cleaner-outer.
  • He dwells happily in his cluttered man cave.  I need a tidy house and a clean desk.
  • He’s a procrastinator.  I do things as soon as they come up (which is really only because I’ll forget about them otherwise, but still).
  • He likes to have music or TV always on in the background.  I prefer silence unless I’m actually concentrating on listening to music.
  • I love all kinds of music.  He’s rock & roll to the core.
  • I’m a jock.  He’s a couch potato (sorry, dear, but you know it’s true).
  • I’m an adventurous eater.  He’s a meat-and-potatoes kinda guy.
  • He winds down by watching TV.  After half an hour in front of the TV, I’m ready to chew off my own arm if that’s what it takes to escape.

But it doesn’t end there.  We can’t even agree on the things we agree on.  We have two kinds of everything in our house.  I drink skim milk and he drinks full-fat homogenized.  I eat crackers with unsalted tops; he eats salted.  He drinks black tea; I drink green and herbal.  He likes white bread; I like whole-grain.  We don’t even use the same brand of toothpaste.

A while ago, I ran into an old friend in the grocery store and we were standing there catching up when he suddenly blurted out, “I can’t believe you’re still married.”  When I laughed and asked him why, he couldn’t (or didn’t) come up with any concrete reason, but I suspect it was the compatibility thing.  Looking at the list above, you’d think we’d have throttled each other before the first year was out.

But we’ve figured out ways to compromise (or agree to disagree), and there are lots of activities we both enjoy.  It also helps that Hubby is the most tolerant guy I’ve ever met, and he encourages me in absolutely everything I try (even if I suck at it).

Yesterday was our fourteenth wedding anniversary, and I can’t believe how quickly the years have flown by.  It’s been the best fourteen years of my adult life.

I think what I love most about him is the way he does little, special things for me.  The surprise trip to a new restaurant; cleaning out the dishwasher because he knows I hate doing it; the fancy bows on the chairs we bought together as a mutual anniversary gift; the flowers for no reason; the way he magically appears with a dishtowel in his hand when he hears me washing dishes.  No grand fanfare, no ‘look what I did for you, praise me now’; just his quiet smile.

And I love the way his mind is constantly active.  Conversations at our dinner table range from quantum physics to car maintenance; astronomy to science-fiction laser guns; building computers to growing tomatoes to finding a way to filter out the awful taste of his last batch of rotgut homemade wine.  (We never did figure that one out.  If anybody wants a few gallons of dark-brown fluid that smells like rotten eggs and burns with a clear blue flame, let me know.)

Our basement is full of obscure mechanical and electronic oddments, and Hubby’s always working on some theoretical problem or invention.  It’s unfailingly interesting, and occasionally alarming.  I’ve narrowly missed being struck in the back of the head by an exploding capacitor (it shot past my left ear).  Sometimes there are billows of dense smoke or worrisome chemical odours.

But I think I’ve finally trained him not to use my kitchen sink for toxic substances or my food processor for non-food items.  At least, not while I’m looking.

And after all, where’s the fun in predictability?

So happy anniversary to my dear Hubby – I’m looking forward to many more!  (Anniversaries, I mean.  Just thought I should clarify that…)

56 thoughts on “Compatibility Is Overrated

  1. Pingback: Squared Lasagna And Numeric Tea | Diane Henders

  2. We’ve agreed totally on only five things since we’ve been married. Our two kids, our politics, our religion, that we love each other, and a clock we both liked and bought years ago. Everything else we’ve seen and done in the last 43 years, not so much.

    But GAD it’s been fun! 🙂


  3. What a wonderful post. It is never too late to live happily ever after. Ogden Nash must have been thinking of you when he wrote this:
    I Do, I Will, I Have
    How wise I am to have instructed the butler to instruct the first footman
    to instruct the second footman to instruct the doorman to order my
    I am about to volunteer a definition of marriage.
    Just as I know that there are two Hagens, Walter and Copen,
    I know that marriage is a legal and religious alliance entered into by a
    man who can’t sleep with the window shut and a woman who can’t
    sleep with the window open.
    Moreover, just as I am unsure of the difference between flora and fauna
    and flotsam and jetsam,
    I am quite sure that marriage is the alliance of two people one of whom
    never remembers birthdays and the other never forgetsam,
    And he refuses to believe there is a leak in the water pipe or the gas pipe
    and she is convinced she is about to asphyxiate or drown,
    And she says Quick get up and get my hairbrushes off the windowsill,
    it’s raining in, and he replies Oh they’re all right, it’s only raining
    straight down.
    That is why marriage is so much more interesting than divorce,
    Because it’s the only known example of the happy meeting of the
    immovable object and the irresistible force.
    So I hope husbands and wives will continue to debate and combat over
    everything debatable and combatable,
    Because I believe a little incompatibility is the spice of life, particulary if
    he has income and she is pattable.


  4. Best wedding story I’ve ever heard! Too true that simply because it was so unorthodox it absolutely had to last and will for many more. The long, drawn out, stuffy and tedious weddings may be good for some but I wouldn’t be able to stand it. Yours sounded perfect.


  5. Hey Diane, a very merry happy 14th to you and your man! I think you guys are made for each other. A pair of married mad scientists is a rare occurrence and you two found each other!
    Now if you don’t mind, how about coughing up that memorable wedding photo from 14 years ago? 🙂


    • Good point – I should have thought of that! That’s a story in itself. Hubby wore a tux with cowboy hat & boots. I wore a white dress with black cowboy boots and a white cowboy hat with a veil. Neither of us dresses western unless the Stampede is on, but we both wanted to be comfortable. Minutes before the ceremony began, the fire alarm went off and we all had to evacuate. We got married in a log cabin on Friday the 13th and were piped in by a Scotsman in full regalia. Guests wore everything from ripped jeans to formalwear. Hubby was supposed to pick the song for our first dance. I reminded him several times but he forgot, so the DJ picked something on the spur of the moment.

      After all that, it’s no wonder we’ve had a good life together – it couldn’t get much weirder. 🙂


  6. Happy Anniversary! Yesterday was my anniversary also…25 years. It appears from what you wrote that I am your husband (other than the noise thing…that is DEFINITELY my husband too!) and you are my husband!! They do say opposites attract and think how boring life would be if we were the same as our mates! Here’s to many more happy anniversaries with your obviously compatible opposite!


    • LOL! Isn’t that funny to find a mirror image like you and your husband – and with an anniversary on the same day, too! When I wrote this, I had no idea how many “opposite” couples were out there. Thank you for the good wishes, and happy anniversary to you and your husband, too – congratulations on achieving 25! 🙂


  7. There’s something to be said about opposites. Think about it, if you were too much alike, you would be bored. There’s nothing like a flying capacitor to add a little bit of spontaneousness to a marriage. Congrats!


    • Hey, lucky 13! Hubby and I were married on Friday the 13th, so we have a special fondness for 13. And so far I haven’t established that there was murderous intent behind the capacitor, so I can still sleep at night. I just keep reminding him that I’m worth more to him alive than dead…


  8. Happy Anniversary! Thank you for sharing such a great story! My hubby has been overseas for the past 2 years and this has made me miss him even more! We are both exact opposites in almost everything but for some reason we really work! We have a couple things in common but for the most part we do the things each of us like as the hubby and wifey duty, but there is never any complaining (well not a lot, haha). I am looking forward to spending many more years with him, even though he drives me crazy most of the time, it is definitely worth it!


  9. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! Congrats and all that.

    I really think some level of differences are required if you’re going to get long with someone for more than, let’s say, the weekend. Same as conflict being the fuel of a story, only without the lethal weaponry!

    And thanks for clarifying your want for more 🙂



  10. Happy Anniversary to you and Hubby! My husband and I are very different and yet share many similar traits. Being opposite on many things helps us to learn to compromise and we quite often agree to disagree! Here’s hoping you many more years of happiness. 🙂


  11. Happy anniversary, and I think that you two sound like you’re doing it right! Me and my hubby are similarly incompatible, although not as incompatible, and it makes for a surprise every day. I agree with you, what’s the fun in predictability 🙂


  12. Hi Diane, That was such a lovely tribute to your husband.   You are right, then differences don’t matter as long as there is affection, attention, and appreciation included in the relationship.  I’m guessing you and he will go forward in this life as happy, satisfied people.  Congratulations on figuring it out.   I’m a pack rat, but I like to keep things neat….don’t know where that puts me.  I’m interested in so many things and want to enjoy adventures and meeting people  for the rest of my life! Peggi


    • Thanks, Peggi! Being an organized pack rat sounds like the best of both worlds – not only will you have exactly what you want, you’ll also be able to find it when you need it. And I think an adventurous spirit like yours is a true gift – enjoy! 🙂


  13. First of all, Happy Anniversary! Very nice to see good people stay committed. My hubby and I will make our 51st anniversary in December. Talk about opposites? I was a young product of the late 50’s and 60’s protest bunch! Against everything and anything any authoritative group wanted to use to control us. LOL California born and bred I guess says it all on that. Hubby was a dyed in the wool Southern rebel. My baby blue Marine. Home and hearth, not an openly social butterfly you might say. There were open bets, at our wedding, that we wouldn’t make it 6 months. **ahem**, did I mention that we are coming up on “51” years! hahaha While everyone else, on both sides of the family, have been divorced and remarried at least once. (except our parents of course, whole other generation there) It takes cooperation and compromise and knowing the difference. It’s been interesting to say the least. Love doesn’t conquer all but it sure manages to cushion the bumps.
    Wishing you many, many more years of good table talk. It sounds like you have a good handle on it all.


  14. I think if a couple shares the same views on the big things–life direction, morals, politics, world-view–than the smaller things are not nearly as important. Plus, mutual respect is a must to make a marriage work. Sounds like you two have it. Congrats on the anniversary!


  15. Seems you and your hubby and me and my hubby have the same (in)compatibility issues (except he’s the neat freak and I’m the tolerant one [for the most part]).

    “Dark-brown fluid that smells like rotten eggs and burns with a clear blue flame”? That’s sooo tempting, but the NSA would probably confiscate it at the border.

    BTW the pop-up adds finally got it right! After clicking on your link to get here, this popped up: “Related searches:
    I Love This Site
    Good Looking”

    Happy anniversary to you and your hubby! 🙂


  16. Many congrats., have a super day & a lovely dinner in or out!! Just had our 20th & my chap still so awesome too. We have 2 anniversaries; Feb. was 27 years since 1st date. Just gets better when it is the right one! 🙂 ❤


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