Today marks the one year anniversary of my marriage to my best friend. To commemorate, I thought I'd dedicate this post to the amazing relationship I have with Hus (aka- my husband). (Don't be fooled; I'm in no way saying that we have a perfect relationship, just a really good one that I happen to love a lot.)
Like the post I wrote about my parents, I'll begin with some history for those of you who don't know us. Hus and I both spent the majority of our lives growing up in the DC Metro area. I, a P.G. County girl, and he, a Montgomery County boy, met in the spring of 2000 while I was finishing up my last year of high school in Wheaton, MD. At the time, I was 17 (about to be 18) and Hus was 20. That summer I moved 3 hours away to go to community college (I know, who does that?). Hus and I drove back and forth for a year and a half before I moved back to the DC area. A few years later, 2004 marked the beginning of our adventure from the east coast to the south and then back up again to the midwest. First, we moved all the way down to Auburn, Alabama, where we lived for two years and made some great friends (you know who you are!). In August 2006, we moved to Indiana, bought a house, settled down, and made some more great friends (you also know who you are!). We tied the knot in September 2007 (Yes, your math is right- we dated for 7 years before we got married) and have been enjoying our first year as a married couple ever since.
From the very beginning of our relationship, Hus and I have referred to each other as puzzle pieces. This may sound odd, but just go with me on this one. At first glance, you think that we are very different (like two differently shaped puzzle pieces), but upon closer examination, you begin to notice all of the fundamental similarities that we share (like how puzzle pieces are both made of cardboard, have rounded edges, have similar colors, etc.). In addition, like two connecting puzzle pieces, we only fit with each other and not with anyone else.
Relationship researchers have made three main claims about the importance of similarity between significant others (e.g., Brehm et al., 2002; Hill et al., 1976; Neimeyer & Mitchell, 1988). First, similar couples are more likely to stay together in the long run. Couples who share many personality traits, preferences, interests, values, attitudes, and beliefs are more attracted to each other, and therefore, tend to have higher success rates than those who significantly differ. Second, you need to be careful about being too similar. Most people don't get along with others who are exactly like them. Third, it's most important for two lovers to share core similarities to be successful. Relationships can survive when individuals have different likes and dislikes, but can become rocky if partners don't have similar desires for children, beliefs about raising children, religions, social class standings, values about money, political opinions, and even levels of physical attractiveness. So, while it's nice if you and your partner have the same hobbies or personality traits, it's vital to have similar attitudes and values about more important things like money and raising children.
Although Hus and I have a lot of differences, we do share many core values and beliefs. For example, we share similar attitudes about politics, money, and children, which all seem to cause a lot of arguments among couples these days. Second, Hus and I are both from working-class backgrounds and we each understand the value of a dollar, which contributes to our similar values about money. Third, we know the importance of living every day to its fullest and telling the people we love that we love them. Furthermore, we believe that relationships take a lot of hard work and we are both willing to put in the man-hours. Lastly, respect is very important to us. We value respect for ourselves, each other, and every single human being on this earth.
Even some of our differences seem to compliment each other. For example, when he's anxious, I'm usually calm and when I'm nervous, he's my rock. This works out really well in times of distress. Instead of both of us freaking out, one person is always there to be logical, grounded, and supportive. Second, while Wes is an amazing listener, I'm constantly talking, or "thinking out loud" as he likes to say. This is a great difference of ours. And by great, I mean awesome. Who could ask for more? I'm always talking and he's always listening. It's a perfect match! Also, Hus is always late and I believe that being "on time" means 10 minutes early. I have to admit, this one has been a bit troublesome. But, we've recently began to just tease each other about it and laugh, which seems to break the tension. Surprisingly, these differences don't tear us apart (they can sometimes cause arguments, but they haven't ruined us yet). Instead, they've made us who we are as a couple.
So, while we may seem very different to most people, Hus is my puzzle piece and I couldn't imagine my life without him. Happy Anniversary Hus!
- Brehm, S. S., Miller, R. S., Perlman, D., & Campbell, S. M. (2002). Intimate relationships (3rd ed.). Boston: McGraw Hill.
- Hill, C. T., Rubin, Z., & Peplau, L. A. (1976). Breakups before marriage: The end of 103 affairs. Journal of Social Issues, 32, 147- 168.
- Neimeyer, R. A., & Mitchell, K. A. (1988). Similarity and attraction: A longitudinal study. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 5, 131- 148.
For more information about similarity in relationships, see the following online articles: