When we dated, I thought we fell for each other because we are so alike. At surface value, yes we had the same type of childhood, the same type of exposure to life and such. I believe or chose to believe only like attracts like and never understood how the opposite can attract. Thus, our differences and opposite traits were never taken note.
Sure we bicker like any other couples do. We have our arguments and disagreements, mostly evolving our decision-making methods and the way we do things. It is on these occasions, I always question - why he never think like I do? He does things that puzzle me. Some of the cases are...
WHY is he so quiet during dinners? He doesn't want to talk to me?
WHY can't he just plug the television in before reading the manual? It's pretty self-explanatory!
WHY can't he hold the drumstick with his fingers? He is going to wash the plates anyway.
Puzzling, I try making sense out of it but I never really dig deeper. It didn't struck me until the recent years, when we were planning for our wedding. I realized how his family and my family ways of organizing were so, so different. Even the ideas of the concept of a wedding were conflicting. When I was set with the theme color of orange and red for the wedding, his family wanted fairy tale white and pink and violinist in the background.
There were a lot of disagreements, and that slowed down a lot of my planning. I cannot deny there were times I was frustrated but I am not the bridezilla you think. Out of respect for both family, we compromise, always do. But after being together for this long, their family history began to unfold. I began asking questions not out of frustration but out of intention to learn. Yew Wai started explaning and fill me in the gaps. It didn't take long until I understand why they are the way they are.
This was the time that I learned the reason why I am really attracted and intrigued by Yew Wai.
It is simple. It is just how opposite he is of me!
In a nutshell, he is quiet and mysterious, analytical and neat. He is really good with street names but bad with directions. I am a loud chatterbox, messy, spontaneous girl. I am completely horrible with street names but really good with directions.
His parents are from a long-line of formal China-Cantonese ancestry. Yew Wai's grandfather spoke fluent English and has his own English dictionary. He watched ATP Tours and knew who is Federer. His grandfather being the only son, grew up in a wealthy family of real-estate businesses which sadly, were confiscated by the Japanese during the world war II. Yew Wai's mother, on the other hand, was brought up to obey tradition. She is a super woman. She runs with Hash House Harriers in jungle trails with her husband. She can cook up a storm every night and never complains of being tired. Her home is neatly systematic yet has a touch of feminine, color-coordinating rose prints draperies. My stern father-in-law who is also very analytical, is often cautionary to anything new especially food. He never fails to share moral stories to the young ones and only speaks of formal matters like work and studies. Hence their kids grew up with really good table manners, obedient and unlike me, never mischievous. The family dinners consist of very few exchange of words. Traditional celebration and performing of rites are a must on big occasions. The family keep in touch very often and has a wide network of relatives, tracking all the way back to Guangzhou, China.
My parents are like a granola-crunch, carefree couple. My sisters and I all grew up in multiple locations throughout our childhood, thus crave for eye-opening traveling experience and never cautionary of new things. We can yak and nibble on the dining table for hours. My freethinker family's conversation about something serious can always lead to something very funny. Dad has a stern look too but he is actually more of a teddy bear at heart. Dad's always full of surprises and always make sure the kids have memorable fun like an unplanned two hours trip to get dim sum for breakfast. Mom, the disciplinarian, makes sure her daughters grow up with pride and dignity, and be as independent as possible. Mom and Dad favorite past time is teasing each other while the kids follow suit. The episodes never end, more laughing ensues. My grandparents were poor peasants who lived in a rubber estate. Mom and her family used to mine tins and plucked peanuts until their skin tore to pay for education. My Grandma escaped world war II and found refuge in an underground soil tunnels where she only ate bugs and sweet potatoes to survive. At 15, she was married to Grandpa through a picture relatives introduced. Grandma who doesn't even have a true name to her birth certificate, let alone be literate, taught us to appreciate simple things in life and find pleasures in everything we do.
So! Imagine my first visit at Yew Wai's house? Sure, I was stunned by a culture so different than mine. Imagine me having to be quiet and proper! It was very hard for me to stay serious but I also didn't want their first impression of me as the coo-coo girl. But I think, if not already, they must have an inkling; though that's fine - we are already married! LOL =D
What I didn't realize was Yew Wai, (neither does he I think) in so many parts of him, consists of everyone in the family. They raised him! He is the family. That's why he will always be quiet at dinners, he will always read the manual and will always have excellent table manners. I guess it is true that when you marry, you don't just marry the one you love. You also married the sister, the disgusting uncle, the annoying cousin.... and all of the above.
No matter what, at the end of the day, I love him. That's what we share that is most alike. Love is the core to all relationship, in my opinion, not in the mushiest way. I think it is only through marriage and opening up to someone else's perspective that one can only learn about the other person and yourself, thoroughly.
Therefore, I can honestly say, now I fully understand the true meaning of opposite attracts. It is what I am not, that he is that I will always be attracted with.