Tuesday, January 1, 2019

I Married An Incompatible Woman

1 January 2019 marks my 37th Wedding Anniversary.
I have a confession to make and it will probably shock you - Michelle and I are  incompatible!
This has been a fact from the time we first met 45 years ago. But for many years, we denied it. However, the inevitable happened and over the years living together, our incompatibilities showed up more and more.
When I first knew her, Michelle was a soft-spoken, pretty, very meticulous and neat 14-year old beauty and she still is all of that! I was boyish, unrefined, untidy but pretty smart (I think). She spoke proper English and I preferred spewing words in Hokkien, which was how fellow students in my boy’s school conversed.
After completing our ‘O’ level examinations, she went on to take secretarial studies and became a efficient and attractive secretary. I opted for technical studies at the polytechnic and took up a career as an Army Officer.
Through our courting days and early years of marriage, we found that we really did not have much common interests - I was a “sand-and-sea” person who loved the outdoors (that was why I became a career army officer), she was dainty and would avoid the sun and salt water at all cost, so as to preserve her face and the color of her skin (she went on to become a beauty therapist and still is one today).
Even our family background was significantly different, from the number of siblings to the occupation of our parents and the type of food we ate growing up.
Somehow, either we chose not to see the incompatibilities or maybe we were just too attracted by the excitement of our first opposite-sex relationship in our lives, that we forge ahead, rather blindly, in our love adventure.
 In 1982, we married each other in spite of our incompatibilities.
Today, 1 January 2019, when most people are celebrating the beginning of the New Year, my 3 children with their spouses and our 2 grandchildren joined us over lunch to celebrate our 37th Wedding Anniversary.
In spite of our incompatibilities, Michelle and I do enjoy each other very much. I told her that I was attracted by her beauty when I first courted her, and quickly add that she still attracts me in the same way today. Now, I am so glad that she avoided the sun and salt water at all cost when she was young - I am the true beneficiary of that discipline.
I asked her, what of me attracted her that she decided to marry me. She cannot recall. So my conclusion is that despite my imperfections, I was simply attractive to her.
So, what about our incompatibilities?
Well, we have learned that no 2 persons can ever be compatible; we are all unique. In a marriage, both parties must have the expectation that they are incompatible to begin with, and then work on one self to live with, give in to, and build up a relationship that can overcome the incompatibilities.
Michelle and I learned that once we made the decision to give up our demand to satisfy our self, and to be deliberate about becoming the right person for the other, only then did our love conquer our incompatibilities. We grew in love and allowed love to cover all of our flaws and shortcomings.
For those of you who think that you have married a compatible spouse, I am happy for you. But I will still caution you that you had married while he or she was compatible. People will change over the years, and your spouse can become “incompatible” as your marriage progresses.
So my point is this - the earlier you accept that your spouse is unique and different from you and that incompatibilities are inevitable, the sooner you can enjoy your journey towards Maximum Marriage. You do this by making a deliberate choice to be the right person to your spouse, instead of looking to your spouse to be the right person for you. With this mindset, incompatibilities will become complementary traits that will make your marriage exciting and enjoyable.
On every anniversary in the last few years, I would post an article about how we had enjoyed each other in another year of our union. Accompanying each of those posts was always a photograph of the rose bouquet I presented to Michelle, 1 rose for each year of our marriage.
Today, I presented a bouquet of 37 roses to her.
As I did that, I saw a vision of giving to my dear Michelle, bouquets with 50, 60 and God-willing 70 or more roses ….. that is my deepest desire for our Maximum Marriage.
You can enjoy your marriage too. Give up your demands for self-satisfaction, make the decision to be the right person to your spouse and you will always enjoy and celebrate love in your marriage!

Your comments and sharing are most welcome. Fuel debate, share your experience and ask questions. Click "Comment" to have you say! You are also encouraged to mark your reaction to my post....


Makeda Charles, Author of Combat Unemployment said...

Well, you must have compatible values.

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