I remember friends staring at me in awe when I told them I was getting married. At 21. To a guy none of them had even had the time to meet yet. Most of them didn’t even know I had a boyfriend. And then the sigh, or scoff. They didn’t think they’d ever find someone they’d want to tie that tight of a knot with. How could I have found my special someone so fast? A best friend whom I loved more than anyone else and with whom I was positive I wanted to spend the rest of my existence.
Well, I guess it all depends on what you’re looking for. A best friend? That’s always a good pointer. What does that mean though?
Can I admit something? I’m not sure a lot of people know this. I mean really know this.
Marcus and I don’t have tons of things in common.
Seriously. We don’t. We don’t really listen to the same kind of music. We don’t always think the same movies are funny. He likes trying new flavors, I stick to chocolate (always). He’s more trendy, I’m more classic. He likes big crowds, I prefer small groups. He likes to sleep in, I like an early start. We’re actually very different people. Well, especially when we first met.
It took a while for me to really warm up to Marcus. Our first week dating I remember being worried that I was wasting my time with a guy that I clearly didn’t have enough in common with. He was a wonderful guy and I loved talking and being with him, but I just couldn’t see how we’d become the couple sitting in the couch laughing our heads off at an inside joke on a Tuesday night just because we had each other.
I remember one night in particular. We had gone for a walk together and had ended up sitting in the sand by a lake on an evening in July. I especially remember the insane amount of mosquitos. Anyway, I was feeling guilty and ended up admitting to Marcus my worries. I held my breath. Instead of freaking out or getting sad he told me that he’d had the same thoughts. Immediately I felt relieved but hung my head because I was worried that this was it. And so I braced myself for a break-up talk.
It didn’t come. Instead, Marcus picked up a twig and started drawing lines in the sand. He explained to me that he’d made up a sort of score board, and that only three things mattered to him:
Friendship – Did I seem like the type of girl he could be best friends with. And not just now in our 20s but for life. Could we still be best friends in 50, 60, 100 years? Did he enjoy my company that much? Could he talk to me about anything at all? Did he want to talk to me about anything at all? Did he feel like I really listened to him? Did he enjoy really listening to me? Did he like me enough to learn to love me in the future?
Aspiration – Did we see ourselves in a similar situation in 10 years? Did we want the same kind of family? Did we want the same kind of life for our family? Did we share the same faith? Was that faith as big a part of each of our lives? Did we want to build our family on the same sort of principles and values? Did we have similar ambitious goals for our future family? Did he like the idea of the life and family we could potentially have together?
Attraction – Did he find me attractive? Inward and outward. Did he want to be with me? Did he actually want to make our relationship work? Was he willing to make sacrifices for it?
He looked up. He said that I got full marks on that score board. Of that he wasn’t in doubt at all. And that everything else could fall into place later. After all, we had only just started dating.
About 9 months later we were married. It’s kind of a blur since everything happened so fast. But that night is one of the significant moments that I remember very well during our dating process. Because I knew he was right.
Sure, I could’ve probably said nope and gone out and found some other guy who liked chocolate cake and Harry Potter as much as I do. Or at least more than Marcus. But man, if I’m dead honest – no grey areas or second thoughts – I think I’d have to look for many many years to find another guy who spot on wanted the same life and family as I want. And even made me more excited about my own hopes and dreams than I was in the first place!
I’ll admit it. I kept dating Marcus because I was blindly in love with the life we would have together and the father he would some day be. But now that we are actually living that life, we laugh at tons of inside jokes every day, and I can watch my daughter crawl eagerly to the front door when he gets home from work, I am so happy I didn’t go find a new relationship to base on a meaningless crush.
So no, I don’t think you need to have tons of things in common. Actually, in some ways I think differences can be a blessing. Because they give you so many opportunities to make sacrifices for each other and thereby to demonstrate your love for one another. Once Marcus brought home a 1000-piece puzzle and suggested we put on a movie and put it together after dinner. I’ve rarely felt that cherished and appreciated. Not just because I love doing puzzles, but because I know how much Marcus hates ding puzzles. And even though he could only stand it for 15 minutes and then left me to do the rest on my own, it absolutely meant the world to me.
I’m thankful today that I based my relationship to my husband on the right things, because everything else, sense of humor, hobbies, interests, inside jokes, telepathy, – it all came later. But it came. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have a ton of things in common, you just need to have the most important things in common.