Differences- – Helen

Sometimes differences make for conflict. For instance, I’m a neatnik; I can’t stand clutter of any sort, especially in those spaces where I have to spend some time. So my house is always picked up and everything is where it should go; same for my office at Cary Speech Services, my desks at home and at the office, and especially on the boat. I say, especially on the boat because it’s a smaller space and yet we have so much stuff to store. I have numbered all the little cubby holes, drawers, lockers, etc. and made a master list of where everything is. Even before assigning things to spaces, I collected about a hundred plastic boxes with self-locking lids (different sizes, of course), sorted things into “like with like” (and that isn’t easy when you wind up with different sizes of screws and various boat hardware, some of which you don’t even know the names of), wrote their names/descriptions on the front of the boxes, made a master list on the computer, and then printed this out and put it in a notebook form in the pilot station (just in case the computer is down). I even enjoy the physical act of neatly sorting and assigning! It kind of Zen for me!

Now Bryce, on the other hand, is not a very neat person. He will often put things down wherever it is convenient at the time. I don’t think he intentionally means to mess up my orderly system and sometimes I just ignore where he leaves things, hoping that he will eventually get around to straightening things up. In fact, I have often hoped that natural consequences would help him to clean up his act. That is, when he can’t find something and it isn’t where the book/computer says it should be, you would think that he would learn a lesson and put things back where he got them. But no, this rarely happens. I especially let his tool storage area on the boat get very, very messy and disorganized. After months of stuff being fitted in this small space in a haphazard way, the door can barely be closed. But what does Bryce do when he can’t put his finger on a certain length screw? Why, instead of looking under all the mess for the box of screws that I have so painstakingly sorted, he just goes to the hardware store, buys a bag of five or six, then throws that brown paper bag in the mess and slams the door shut! UGH!

We are in may ways polar opposites of each other. You know the old saying, “Opposites attract”, well, we are pretty much opposite in so many ways. He would eat stuff that is not good and healthy (read: salami, beer, pizza), while I could happily live on salads and fruits. He likes loud country music; I like new age, jazz, and classical. His idea of a relaxing Saturday night is a sci fi or blood and guts flick; I prefer a romance or a comedy. I get scared easily; its pretty hard to scare him. I love working and playing with kids; he doesn’t know how to interact with people under the age of 16. He has the patience to learn how to do techie stuff like make a website or move pictures from the camera to the computer; I would get mad and lose interest at the first snag. I love everything nautical; Bryce has gotten into this lifestyle because of me.

Yes, differences can be good and bad. We can compliment each other and we can drive each other insane. It seems that over the years we have learned to accept the differences and at times we have even celebrated them. Vive la difference!           Helen  (12/27/09)

For information about Helen and Bryce’s Love Odyssey marriage retreats visit http://www.odysseymarriageretreats.com  where the strategy behind these couples retreats  is described in detail.

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