Reflecting upon her parents’ marriage, Kelly Guest decides that being opposites in a blessing.
Opposites attract. God made it so. We see it clearly in the study of magnets. We perceive it, also, in our relationships.
Personally, I celebrate it in my parents who, despite their differences or maybe even because of them, celebrate 57 years of marriage today!
Oh, how opposite they are! My father is the quiet introvert, which masks his marvelous sense of humor. My mother is an extrovert and always up for anything (except those carnival rides that spin round and round). Because of my mom’s outgoing personality, my parents have made countless friends over the years. Many people, therefore, have experienced my father’s wonderful wittiness, as well as my mother’s loving heart. See how God works so that together my parents show the world a glimpse of the joy in Heaven?
Justice and mercy may seem to be opposites. Yet, God the Father metes out both perfectly. My parents, likewise, reflect God’s righteousness. My dad, a retired police officer, lives justice sprinkled with mercy. Mom, on the other hand, exudes loving mercy with some discipline when necessary. She worked with students with special needs, having the patience and understanding equal to the task. At home, my parents corrected but also always forgave us. The justice and mercy which they meted out to us inspired in us the virtue of hope, that is, the trust that we will always be loved and forgiven.
Even in their spirituality, my parents seem to be opposites. Dad will soar to heaven on the wings of his piety. He attends daily Mass, prays Rosaries and Liturgy of the Hours every day, and enjoys spiritual reading. EWTN is always on in their house.
While my dad is like Mary of Bethany, my mother has the spirituality of St. Martha. She loves through her actions. My dad admits, “Mom has more love in her little pinkie than I have in my whole body.” There is nothing that my mom won’t do for the least of Jesus’ brethren, especially His precious little ones. When the time comes, my mother will be embraced by our Lord because of her great charity.
As my mom gets older and cannot “do” as much, she turns more and more to prayer, perhaps an influence of my dad on her. Mary and Martha – together my parents make the perfect saint!
Reflecting on my parents’ relationship causes me to look at mine and my husband’s. We, too, are quite opposite. I am the extrovert that encourages his introverted self to get out there and participate in the world. While I like trying new things, he predictably orders the same thing every time. His laid-back attitude balances out my choleric personality. And similar to the way it was in my childhood home, I, the mother, tend to discipline with more mercy, while my husband is just in his punishments. I’m the nurturer; he’s the defender.
Being opposites may have attracted us to each other at first, but these qualities also have deepened our love and appreciation of each other. Furthermore, our children benefit from our differences. Opposite qualities have many valuable effects on a relationship.
What I am calling “opposite,” Saint Pope John Paul the Great termed “complementarity.” Often, our differences are what God uses to help us become holy. We ought to embrace our differences, even the thing that drives us most crazy about our spouse. Through them, God is encouraging our spiritual growth. One quality is not necessarily better than the other; both are needed to become the saints that God has called us to be. So, let us embrace the complementarity of our differences.
As I look back over the many years of my parents’ marriage, I clearly see God’s hand in it. I celebrate their differences which have complimented not only each other but benefitted me and my siblings, too.
Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad! I love you.
Think about it:
How are you and your husband opposite? How does that difference aid in your growth in holiness?
Copyright 2020 Kelly Guest
Images (top to bottom): Tebo Steele (2019) Flickr, CC BY SA 2.0; courtesy of Kelly Guest, all rights reserved.
About the Author
God has given Kelly lots of wonderful opportunities to follow Him. She was a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia in Nashville, an education coordinator for a Catholic Charities' program for pregnant teens, a middle school teacher, a director of religious education and is now a youth minister. Her most challenging and rewarding calling, though, is wife and mother of ten children. What she has learned, she blogs at CatholicMom.com. Kelly's book, Saintly Moms: 25 Stories of Holiness, is due out October 2021.