The Dreamer and the Pragmatist

He trusts more than I do.
Trusts that Life will support us in most everything we do.
I, on the other hand, keep waiting for Life to pull the rug out from under us
whereupon we’d fall flat on our fannies in the dirt road of humiliation and shame.
At which point I’d say, “We should’ve tried harder to please Life,
to appease Life and not need to make amends,”
even as he’d lift me up, dust me off and say,
“Come on, girl, let’s go, there’s more Life to live.”
And I would stare at him in disbelief.
Then follow.
I must want to trust life too.

After 18 years of loving each other, I finally connected a pair of dots that makes sense of a lot – including a recurring tension between us. The man is the dreamer in this relationship and I…I am the pragmatist. How is it possible it took me so long to realize this and how is it possibly true? I’m the writer, for Pete’s sake. Doesn’t that necessarily make me the dreamer? Apparently not.

Since the beginning, there have been times when, to me, he felt like a man taking off in a hot air balloon with me losing my grip on the tether holding him to earth. He put forth so many ideas that pulled on me that may or may not ever come true but spoken out loud threatened to undo my peace of mind. To him I must have felt like a brass weight (well, perhaps a weight made of gold), always putting attention on why this or that idea wasn’t practical, what the ramifications and consequences of following through with them would mean, and whether or not we could afford it. Whoosh! For 18 years it went right over my head that the #1 point of him initiating those conversations was to dream. Period. Kerplunk! For 18 years I didn’t understand the fact that what I wanted was to feel safe and protected. My pragmatism and rootedness helps keep me so. His hot air ballooning seemingly threatens to undo me.

hot air balloon

That is until I figure out what’s going on here. He likes to dream and he likes to speak his dreams out loud. It doesn’t matter if we can’t afford it. That’s not the point. If we can’t afford it, we won’t get it, but why not dream it anyway? I keep my longings close to the bone so that if I can’t have them I won’t be disappointed or hurt. But, from experience and conversation, I finally understand this difference between us. I can let him dream and even sometimes chime in because I know he won’t choose a dream over my safety and security.

We’ve got a little bit of opposites attracting here, a little yin and yang, a little up and down, a little tension that can be used creatively instead of being the same old offense and argument over and over again.

Life gets better when we perceive personality differences as unique aspects of one another without taking them personally, like an affront. It isn’t an affront that I have hazel green eyes and his are blue. So there’s no affront that I’m a pragmatist and he’s a dreamer.

Live and let live, and love together.

Joseph & Sarah Elizabeth Malinak

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