Eve was made from Adam’s rib, but some days I could swear Pete and I are from different planets.
Different is good. Variety is the spice of life. It’s amusing — hilarious, even. The majority of laughs between my sister and me come from comparing notes on how we view the world.
But somehow different is not so funny when it’s your spouse. It’s not so funny when you’re trying to work out life with someone who might as well be from Mars. It’s bad when one of you is convinced you’re the normal earthling in the couple. Like I am.
Well, I’m sure Pete is thinking the same thing when we’re in the middle of a heated argument. But unfortunately for him, I can usually prove that I’m the true earthling and he’s the green man, the one who needs to change.
I’m the thinker in our marriage, and I know how to present a good case. Not that I’m trying to win or anything, it’s just how I see the world. My choices are based on solid logic, so I can roll out my reasoning, including responses to opposing arguments, at a moment’s notice. I’ve already thought it all out.
And Pete, well, he flies by the seat of his pants, and when it comes to explanations, that leaves him in the dust. So for years, Pete really had no good defense. Our conversations went something like this (you can fill in the blanks):
Me: So why did you change your mind about … ?
Pete: I thought … .
Me: But I thought you said … .
Pete: Well, I did, but … .
Me: Yes, but that doesn’t make any sense.
Then I’d proceed to point out the huge holes in his reasoning. Eventually he’d have to admit he was contradicting himself.
I realize this makes me out to be the big bad wolf, but really I am just trying to understand his thought process. Most of the time I’m okay with whatever his decision is. I always get hung up on the why. And I’m frustrated that he circles around the answer, all the while getting more upset by my frustration.
He, getting frustrated with me! What’s up with that? He’s the green man, not me.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized Pete has no thought process — at least not in the way I think of it. Not one that can be documented with charts and diagrams on demand. Not one that can always be explained.
Pete makes decisions intuitively. Somewhere in his brain there’s a big black box, a melding room. Data goes in and a decision pops out on the other end. No one, not even Pete, can tell what goes on in that room.
So when I ask him “Why did you change your mind?” He actually has no idea, but since that seems a silly answer, (and his logic loving wife would surely nail him to the wall if he said so), Pete gives me the first reasonable explanation that pops into his head. Anyway, it’s all the same to him. In his mind, what matters is the end result. In my mind, what matters is how he got there. And he can’t tell me.
It’s taken me years of thinking I married a green man, to realize that Pete’s black box is just as effective as my trackable flow chart. In some instances it’s vastly superior. Yes, imagine that. He might not be able to explain the process, but I know it can be lightning fast. Pete can turn on a dime. He will grab an opportunity before my calculations tell me one even exists.
I’m still not convinced that he’s not from another planet. But I’m beginning to think that neither of us can claim normal earthling status. We’re both coming from a different place. And maybe now that I see that, it might be easier for us to meet in the middle.