A lot of couples talk about how opposite they are. He likes staying up late, she's an early riser. He would rather have a couple of friends over to watch a movie and she wants to dance the night away in an upscale nightclub. Those couples look like idyllic soulmates when compared to my husband and me.
I am 5'6'' and 135 pounds of "go get 'em!" It might sound amazing to hear someone profess this quality as if it is greatest thing in the world. It's not. I can't say "no" to anything that I view as having potential - whether it's an old chair to be refinished, a house to be moved, or a class designed to shove something else at my over-burdened neurons. I want to do everything! It is exhausting (for everybody around me). My brain never shuts off. I'm going to fix it, change it, solve it, figure it out, make it happen. Not so, my husband.
From the time I met him (all 6'4", 290 pounds of him), through to this very moment, he's been happy with whatever or whoever sits in front of him. From an apartment-dwelling family in New Bedford, I had to convince him that we should own a house, paint things, fix things, and join things. He was just as happy sitting in a one-room apartment in front of the TV as he was with most of the situations I concocted for us and our three daughters. It made me furious. I ran around like a one-armed-paperhanger, and he sat back and watched.
It took me years to figure out that he had enviable traits - traits which I could never possess - like contentment, or the ability to leave well enough alone, or perhaps to relax in front of a movie on a rainy day. Marriage counseling was an on and off proposition, much like our marriage. There were times we understood each other and times when I couldn't watch his expressionless, contented face for one more minute. In his defense, when is it a good time to ask a tornado if there is anything it needs?
Last year, we were, again, at the end of our ropes when The Donald burst onto the scene. Neither one of us had ever been a fan. We both hated "The Apprentice".
"That guy is an ass," my husband said.
"I know. Who in their right mind would vote for him?" I replied with confidence that I would never have to call him "President". We had never really discussed politics. Typically, I was politically involved and he wasn't. There were years when I suspected that my husband hadn't even voted (just a theory, based on the fact that he wasn't aware that our voting polls had been changed three years prior). Suddenly we were talking about politics non-stop! I hesitatingly began an accounting of issues on which we saw eye to eye.
I was surprised to find that he felt passionately about immigration, taxes, health insurance, women's rights, gender equality, releasing taxes, ignoring real issues by creating chaos (probably something he had seen his wife do a number of times), gay marriage, global warming, religion and the fear of being governed by one party's religious beliefs - the list was endless. We agreed on everything! We were finally on the same team! It was exhilarating - like having an affair (I mean, how I would imagine having an affair to feel...).
I couldn't wait to get home after work and discuss the daily news with this man who hadn't shared an excess thought for as long as I had known him. With every discussion, he began to look sexier to me. Who was this big, loveable hunk of political facts and figures? We read articles to each other, looked up Snopes facts, commiserated and patted ourselves on the backs for our brilliance. We spoke with pity of couples we knew who were on opposite sides of the political fence. "That poor thing. How is she doing it?" Our life had shifted to them and us.
I don't know what would have happened to our marriage had Hillary won. Would we have found other issues to bind us? Or would we have gone back to our separate lives, with our separate TVs in different corners of the house? I don't think so. Our topics of conversation have grown exponentially since that first marriage counseling session with The Donald. And, curtesy of the electoral collage, we'll never know. But for now, we have everything else on the planet to worry about. Well, at least we're in it together. Thanks, Donald Trump - bigly.