Halloween. Every year it’s a challenge to be creative and accommodating to my I’m-not-wearing-that sweetie at the same time. I love creative costumes. My ex was cooperative. He once allowed me to dress him as a topless dancer. The boobs I made for him out of balloons, cut up pantyhose, and baby bottle nipples would have been more convincing had I been able to get them the same size. Regardless, the costume was a big hit and I suspect—based on how well he carried it off—that my ex rather enjoyed the wig and the fishnets.
Dale, my adored husband, on the other hand, is not so cooperative. Not in a million—make that a trillion—years would he wear the topless dancer costume. If Dale had his way, we’d nix the costume thing entirely. He’s rejected some great ideas. For example, I once suggested we dress as the bottom-line and the headline. One of us would wear a big butt (think of the Fruit of the Loom guys) and the other would wear a big head (think of Mr. Potato Head). Each would have a big black line diagonally crossing it. Cute and, if I say so myself, downright clever. Alas, my creativity has gone unrealized. Deep sigh.
The Halloween-costume-thing isn’t the only difference between us. I adore board games. Dale is bored by them. He loves fun in the sun. Breaking a sweat makes me cranky. He’s a classical musician and won’t watch American Idol with me. I read legal thrillers; he reads nonfiction about things like the history of cod fishing (really) and from that you can only guess how "similar" our taste in TV is.
Although our differences are sometimes a source of frustration, there’s a really cool thing about having differences and it’s this: While I’m never going to read a book about cod fishing, I enjoy the more interesting tidbits Dale shares with me. He’s not going to read the latest legal thriller, but he enjoys it when I read a particularly good bit of prose to him or share an interesting plot twist. I’ve heard music I might never have otherwise known about. I tell Dale enough about what’s happening on American Idol for him to be up-to-date and conversant with coworkers. In other words, each of us shares the highlights of our interests with the other. That gives us something to talk about and makes us more interesting, not only to each other, but to the rest of the world. It helps broaden our horizons.
For example, I love opera because Dale introduced me to it and can tell me the story behind every one of them. And that’s just the beginning of how, by sharing our differences, we’ve made our lives fuller. Our differences also allow some separateness. Dale shares fun in the sun with his friends when they go hiking or cycling, giving me the opportunity to drag out my craft supplies and make scrapbook pages for my granddaughters. When Dale comes home, he tells me all about his day and I display my handiwork for him to praise.
Differences make you interesting and open doors for you to broaden your own interests, point of view, and horizons. Differences. Embrace them.
Speaking of differences, that gives me an idea for this year’s costumes. I’ll go as a neat freak and he can be an explosion. Hmmm . . . do you think he’ll go for it?
Shela Dean, Relationship Coach, Speaker & Author
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