During our engagement, I remember gushing to an older married couple that ours would be an idyllic marriage because, "Jeremy and I are so similar!"
They smiled at each other, and the husband said, "You have plenty of time to discover your differences."
At the time, I wondered where those distinctions might lurk. In a preference for 1 percent milk, perhaps, or an expensive commitment to recycled paper towels? Surely any inconsistencies in habit or taste would be smoothed over by our harmonious personalities and identical perspective on life.
Now, after two years of marriage, we've caught on to the fact that our most challenging difference is rooted in the rhythms of our lives: I sprint, while Jeremy saunters.
If I'd been awake to these things, I would have noticed the sharp contrast between my husband's stride and mine long before our engagement. For one thing, it took Jeremy three years of friendship to decide he wanted to date me, whereas I was convinced after a few months that we'd be married.
After marriage, our tempos showed up in the kitchen. Jeremy can't stand to watch my blitzkrieg approach to cuisine, which involves using every dish in the house and usually results in food that's still hard, raw, or frozen in the middle. For my part, I've not learned to hold my tongue when I see Jeremy methodically washing and putting away each kitchen tool while his meal simmers into mushy oblivion.
I tend to make decisions in a heartbeat, speak before I think, and multi-task with the best of them, while Jeremy thinks (and thinks, and thinks!) before deciding anything, speaks with care, and spends hours just being with people, no "to-do" list in sight.1