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La difference

I think if there is one thing I could say I have learned in my years of being married to someone, it’s this: My husband and I are different people.

No, wait.  I tell a lie.  The truth is that if there is one thing of which I must continuously remind myself in my years of being married to someone, it is that my husband and I are different people.

We are different people.

There are many similarities between the two of us, and some of them are beautiful.  We both love nerdy pursuits, including video games and anime; we both enjoy new technologies; we love food and travel and feel, all told, very happy to have found someone who is complementary to our own way of being.

But we are different people.

This is important to remember.  This is important to remember because if I forget, then I will find myself wondering “why can’t he just think about this the way I do?” or “why doesn’t he seem to be having as much fun with this as I am?” or “why doesn’t he understand?” or “why can’t he just maybe not do that, this once?”

We are different people.

He has interests that I don’t have.  And it’s good that we should want to do different things sometimes, that neither of us lives a life in the shadow of the other.  Even the things that we enjoy most in geekland are subtly different: since my rediscovery of Dungeons & Dragons, I have learned that if I am one hundred percent honest with myself and could choose only one geek activity to participate in for the rest of my life I’d probably choose tabletop RPGs over video games.  I suspect that for him it’s the other way around.

I like video games a lot, sure.  And if I’m on my own for a while, that’s a great way to spend some leisure time.  But if I have the choice…if I’ve got people who are willing to join me in telling a story together…I’d rather do that, frankly.  I’d rather feel the companionship of a few other creative types, the sensation of being really active in the medium I am experiencing.  (In fairness, much of this probably has to do with the fact that when he and I play games together he is usually the one doing the driving.  In this age of high action, my poorer twitch skills just can’t keep up.)

I love having somewhere to go in the evening – a movie, a friend’s house, a game night.  To me these are rewards for completing a day, or breaks in the routine of work/eat/sleep.  To him, that’s a schedule without any free time, even if the thing that’s planned only eats an hour or two.  Never mind that he might be having fun at one of the scheduled events, that’s still time that isn’t his.  We both like to have things to look forward to – but where for me those things tend to be “martinis and animation on Friday,” for him that tends to be “an entire day with nothing at all scheduled in it.”

It would be easy to look at something like this and think that I am saying these are things that must change, that we must be more like.  I don’t think that’s so, though, not really.  It is only that I must remind myself of this fact, and keep it in mind, and try always to understand.

We are different.  And that’s all right. Love abides.

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