I Married My Polar Opposite… and It Made Me Better

They say “opposites attract,” and in the case of my wife and I, that couldn’t be more true! While our opposing personalities make for some interesting conflicts, marrying my antithesis has been an experience of personal growth for both of us. If you’re dating someone who seems totally foreign to you, or you’ve just realized you’ve married a being from another planet, stick around for a minute. I’ll try to convince you why you should hang in there for the wild ride.

A Bit of My Story…

I married a woman that…well, as her brother would say…”She’s a pistol.” My wife is afraid of nothing. She’s strong-willed, decisive, and somehow extremely practical and simultaneously totally unpredictable. She was the valedictorian of her class, then graduated from university with two science degrees. She moved on to a nursing career, only to turn around on a dime, drop it all, and start over as a digital nomad and travel writer— which she’s also great at.

I’ve watched her transition from frolicking in the snowbanks of Finland to organizing the flow of teams, equipment, and humanitarian aid supplies, over international borders, in war-torn Ukraine, in a matter of days. She’s highly intelligent but often forgets where her car keys are. She excels at whatever she touches but fails to ever get her laundry into the hamper. She’s confident, sassy, and independent, at least to the outside world.

Then there’s me…

While I was a great athlete in school, in every other way, I was a total fly on the wall. I never dated because I was intensely shy. I’m quiet, reserved, and I make decisions slowly and deliberately. My wife is a “rules are made to be broken” girl while I have never even bent a rule! So how did the shy guy end up with the pistol?

I met my wife while she was dating my college roommate. That relationship was short-lived, thankfully. Afterward, it seemed like she and I couldn’t stop running into each other. It was a kind of kismit if you will. I’d go to the gym, and she’d be there. She’d waltz into the grocery store as I was leaving. It just kept happening. We struck up a friendship, and eventually (after several on-again-off-again moments) I convinced her to hang around. Thankfully, she’s still hanging 20 years later.

The Benefits of Being Married to Your Opposite

As previously stated, marrying my opposite has been a huge blessing! I hope she would say the same. Having common ground is awesome. However, when you see things differently than your favorite person, it forces you to open your mind and consider new possibilities. Here are just a few of the ways that partnering with your opposite can enhance your life.

You cover each other’s weaknesses.

When you marry your opposite, they’ll likely excel where you fail. That’s a perk! All the bases are covered so to speak. As mentioned, I’m not good with quick decisions. When we have ample time, we talk it out and make the decision together. If it’s on the fly, she makes it, and I go with it. Conversely, she is terribly forgetful and flighty. I keep up with her personal belongings and make sure she has money in her wallet, gas in her car, and air in her tires. I make up for what she lacks, and vice versa.

You benefit from each other’s strengths.

When you’re a unit, you get to reap the rewards of your partner’s strengths. Abby is fantastic at making new friends. My life is full of people, who I love dearly, because of her. I likely never would have made those friends on my own. Also, her family is close-knit, and her devotion to them has transformed the way I bond with my own family. On the other hand, she benefits from my emotional stability. I can calm her racing thoughts and cheer her when she’s low, which she finds attractive. That’s the best part of doing life with a long-term partner. You are a team, and together, you’re just better!

You rub off on each other.

The more time you spend together, the more alike you become. While Abby and I are still vastly different, we’ve rubbed off on each other in a lot of ways. I asked her how our relationship had changed her. She said that she’s less impulsive now. She thinks more before she speaks, and she’s slightly more patient. I can attest that she’s made me bolder. We’ve explored more than 40 countries together. I would have never done that on my own—wouldn’t have even known where to start. She has strengthened my self-worth. She taught me when and how to speak up and that my opinions have value.

It changes your worldview.

Being married to your opposite constantly forces you to reroute your thinking. My wife and I can look at the same situation, and she is likely to see it through a completely different lens than me. Part of that is she’s a woman, and I’m a man, but there’s more to it. She is whimsical in a way, open-hearted, and can be foolishly optimistic. I am more cynical— practical. She forces me to consider new possibilities, and I often bring her back down to Earth. I see situations and problems to solve. She sees people to love and exotic experiences to be had. We force each other to view life through a different lens.

Take a chance on a weird love!

If there’s any marital advice I can give that’s worth listening to, it’s don’t be afraid of a life of loving opposition. If the person you’re dating is your opposite, it can be frustrating. You can allow it to drive you apart, or you can embrace it. You can choose to be enchanted, mesmerized even, by your partner’s differences. Use it as an opportunity for personal growth, and it can be the best decision you’ve ever made!

About Author

Ryan is a professional travel and relationship writer, originally out of Arkansas. Educated as a health and physical education teacher, he sold all his possessions, uprooted, and went on sabbatical in 2020 to go exploring! He's spent the last four years traveling the world, living and working in more than forty countries. At his side, is his wife of 19 years and fellow travel writer, Abby. Aside from being a sports fanatic and Jesus lover, he's uncle extraordinaire to 14 of the greatest creations on Earth. His passion is sharing cultural finds and encouraging men to experience a more fulfilling life by loving, serving, and understanding their partners better. Ryan is often published on Adventures From Scratch where he shares his relationship advice and family adventure tips, and on Let's Roam, where he details his travel experiences. You can find more from Ryan on he and his wife's YouTube Channel- LostAmongLocals.

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