He's a night owl -- you're a morning person. He's a neatnik -- you're a collector. Russell Brand recently told Australia's 60 Minutes that incompatibility led to his split from Katy Perry. We interviewed so many women for our book Love for Grown-Ups who married an "opposite" and have happy lives together! Here are our tips for you (and Russell Brand) on how to make "opposites" continue to attract each other.
Remember it's okay to have different social styles. One of you likes to be the last to leave the party and the other finds large groups draining. Here's a great strategy: Plan ahead to leave the party at a specific time for dinner with another couple. It extends the socializing, but on a more intimate scale.
You can do activities alone and together. When your ideas of what's fun to do don't match up, how do you feel about doing some things on your own? If your husband has a standing tennis match on Sundays, use that as an opportunity to have breakfast with a girlfriend, take a yoga class or listen to your favorite music (loud!). Plan some 'together time' for the rest of the day.
Try not to put "lines in the sand." One bride told us, "There were things about me that I thought were etched in stone. But my husband and I have opened new worlds to each other and in our interests." One bride has started her 'Never Say Never List," which now includes loving pets, golfing and cold weather vacations!
Adopt a new hobby he or she likes. One couple we spoke to told us that he is a Nascar buff, and, she, not so much. She began watching the races on TV to keep him company and started paying attention and asking questions. To her surprise she found herself appreciating the technical demands of the sport. She now attends the Daytona 500 -- no one is more surprised than she is.
Speaking of cars, another Garter Bride is married to a man she describes as a 'car nut." She hasn't developed an interest, but, for his birthday she gets him a gift certificate to a race car driving school that he attends with his son -- a win-win situation!
Always stay true to you. At 20, most women will turn themselves inside out to match their interests to those of their boyfriends. As Garter Brides (women who married or remarried over the age of 35) we know that 'you' are the one he fell in love with -- even if deep sea fishing, opera or mountain biking isn't your thing. There will always be activities that you can discover together and that's half the fun!
Don't worry about everything -- just the important things. Combining personal honesty with an appreciation for each other and mutual respect is a winning combination. It makes creating a great life together the real adventure!
The Garter Brides we interviewed all felt that the differences between them and their husbands made them stronger together than they were alone -- and they were all impressive alone!
How have you made your differences a plus in your relationship?
Ann Blumenthal Jacobs, Patricia Ryan Lampl and Tish Rabe are the authors of "Love for Grown-ups: The Garter Brides' Guide to Marrying for Life When You've Already Got a Life," a relationship guide for women over 35 on how to find Mr. Right, marry and find life-long happiness. The Garter Brides are a sisterhood of women who got married later in life and wore the same garter at their wedding! They offer tried and true advice on how to have the love and life you want. "LOVE FOR GROWN-UPS: The Garter Brides Guide to Marrying for Life When You Already Have a Life" www.thegarterbrides.com. Visit TheGarterBrides on Facebook and Twitter.