Real-Life ‘Odd Couples’ Share What Makes Their Marriages Work

Real-Life ‘Odd Couples’ Share What Makes Their Marriages Work

Can what makes you different from your spouse make you stronger as a couple?

By Wendy Robinson

When my husband and I first got together, I wasn’t sure which aspect of our relationship was likely to freak out my parents. Would it be our age difference (he is 17 years older), our racial difference (he is African-American, I am white), or the fact that we grew up in very different religious traditions?

While it might have seemed like we were an “odd couple,” the truth is that our marriage is stronger, not weaker, because of those differences. Before we got married we really had to talk through our differences in beliefs and experiences so there weren’t really any surprises once we said “I do.”

I asked some of my fellow “odd couples” to reflect on what makes their marriages work and their responses might inspire you:

“He is 22-and-a-half years older but our maturity levels balance things: He is young at heart, I am an old soul.” – Beth, married for five years

“I wouldn't say we're an odd couple but I'm sure that's what most would say. He's 39 and I'm 25. He's atheist and I'm a Christian. Additionally, I'm overweight and he's very thin. I think our relationship works because we are both understanding and care for the other person. It's absolutely wonderful that we are both in similar places in our lives. Probably the most challenging/aggravating is that I'm constantly asked if I want children.” – Raya, married for three years

“My husband and I are 11 years apart (him 40, me 29) and our marriage works on shared goals, good communication, and the fact that we were friends first.” – Julia, married for three years

“I am a bleeding-heart liberal and my husband worships the memory of Ronald Reagan. We’ve accepted the fact that our votes will always cancel each other out in the polls! Honestly, though, it is good for me to love someone I totally disagree with. It reminds me that those on ‘the other side’ are people too and not just jerks I’m fighting against online.” – Mandy, married for six years


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“I'm Christian, he's pagan. I'm a type A minimalist neat freak, he's an ADHD hoarder. I'm a worrier, he's not. I'm a planner, he's not. I come from a loud, dysfunctional, yet close and loving family, he comes from a plain dysfunctional family that doesn't get along at all. Most of the time we balance each other out, but of course we do have issues with expectations. We've gotten better about communicating what we want and why it's important to us. We do both want the same things in life and have similar morals and ways of viewing the world, though I'm actually more optimistic than he is, despite being the worrier. We work. We make each other want to be better versions of ourselves, and we respect each other even when differences drive us crazy. I think that's what's important.” – Penny, married for four years

I’m with Penny. My husband makes me want to be a better version of myself and for that I am grateful for our “odd couple” marriage.

How are you and your partner different?

Wendy Robinson is a writer, working mom, and graduate student. Someday she'd like to sleep in again. She also blogs at

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