Diary of a Marriage: Opposites Attract, Right?

My husband is busy planning our retirement. I’m busy planning our next party.

Em and J. moving into their first home as a married couple. Which is not in an over-55 community.

J. and I were driving around our little suburban town this weekend when he pointed out a town-home development.

“That’s a really nice place,“ he said, looking at me expectantly. We’d spent the afternoon thumbing through real estate pamphlets, talking vaguely about our next move.

“Mm-hmm,” I agreed. And it was really nice — stately gated entrance, impeccably manicured lawns, wide driveways, two-car garages. Just one teeny glitch: “I think it’s a 55-and-older community, though.”

J. was unfazed. “Yeah, but 20 percent of the residents don’t have to be 55.”

I nearly spit out my iced tea. Was he seriously offering up a retirement village as a viable option? “Right. That means eighty percent of them do.”

He shrugged. “It’d be quiet.” He looked at me pointedly, most likely referring to my grunts of annoyance at the tween next door to us who incessantly dribbles his basketball in our shared walkway.

I brought up our conversation to friends over burritos at El Fuego on Monday. “I mean, I’m not even 30!”

“He’d be happy as a clam,” one friend said. We all agreed, laughing, sharing visions of J. hanging with retirees on his patch of neatly manicured lawn, tearing up the basketball courts against old men with replaced hips and knobby knees. But it’s the truth, and the main, stark difference between us: My husband, my 30-year-old husband, would be happy as a clam living in a 55-and-older community.

I should have had suspicions of this when we got married. J. has always been a bit of an old soul, preferring water to beer and cozy nights in to wild nights out. He’s very sensible about going to bed early and “saving for our future.” Meanwhile, I stay up too late and drink too much wine and spend too much money on impractical things. Why go to bed early and save now when we can enjoy being young and unfettered with loud parties and big splurges?

J. is, in a word, practical. I am not. We’ve bristled at these differences before, always slightly baffled at how two people so innately different from one another can co-exist, and do so happily. I’m not sure how it works, but somehow, it does. He keeps me centered; I keep him spontaneous.

We’ll probably always argue about things like saving versus spending and how many bottles of wine we really need to get for our dinner party, but in the end, I like to think we keep each other balanced. I’ve got J. to remind me that yes, we really do need to save money, and he’s got me to remind him that, no, we really aren’t ever going to live in a 55-and-older community.

Tell us about you and your husband or fiance: Are you two polar opposites? How do you balance each other out — or drive each other crazy?

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