Being married means that you have come together and are united in love. That doesn’t mean you have to like all of the same things or do everything the same way.
By profession and calling my husband Mike was a United Methodist pastor. By profession and calling, I was a public school educator. Mike is a graduate of Duke University, and I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill. I like to say we have a “mixed marriage”!
On our wedding day, we lit the Unity candle — a symbol of our joining together as one. However, when we planned our wedding service, we decided we would not snuff out our individual candles after lighting the center candle. For the two of us, we believed our strength as a couple emanated from our individual personalities.
Beyond the obvious male and female details, we are very different people. Mike is an Introvert. I am an extreme extrovert. The more people, the better for me. For Mike, a quiet circle of maybe four friends.
When I am down, I want to go out and do something exciting! When Mike needs to recharge, he wants to retreat to a quiet, cozy place. It is all about where we draw our energy from. I draw energy from people, a festive atmosphere and dancing. Mike draws energy from within, in a calm place.
Other details that define us? Mike has an analytical mind. He is a thinker. I have a creative, artistic mind. I am a helper. I am also a “keeper” while Mike is a purger. Mike washes the dishes. I put them away. I plan. Mike says, “Let’s see what happens!” Mike prefers the white meat of the chicken. I prefer the dark meat.
So you might think: How do these two make it work for nearly four decades!? Some people will offer the trite and perhaps true statement: “Opposites attract.” Here is the truth of the matter: We are united as a couple with shared values. It is the difference between unity and uniformity. We are united in our beliefs about right and wrong; we believe in treating all people equally and with kindness. We believe in a God who loves us all unconditionally. We believe in the power of love. We believe our purpose in this world is to serve others.
Dancing to the Beat of a New Drummer
On July 1, 2020, we retired from their respective professions and moved to a new home on a barrier island off the North Carolina coast. Now we are together all day, every day. We are in our early 60’s and figuring out a new normal. Our children, twins, are grown and independent of us. We have no grandchildren yet. Our entire rhythm of living together has changed!
Making the Connection
So we do the work of investing in each other and keeping our marriage strong. We begin every day by reading a morning devotion together and then a chapter of the Bible. We read the Gospel of Matthew first and then moved on to the book of Acts. We discuss what we’ve read as we take turns reading aloud. We pray out loud together. We make our bed every morning. We eat breakfast together. We talk to each other. We connect with each other. We are united, but we are not uniform. Our differences make us stronger as a couple.