Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Family Resemblance (or, "Dude, That's Sick!")

Tonight Mrs. Sal and I had dinner with my sister and her husband. (In a previous post I called him my current brother-in-law. What I meant to say was he is currently my brother-in-law, but long before that, we were friends). Once again, I was struck by the oddity of our gene pool. I found out tonight that my sister likes a good reuben sandwich. I've somehow gone 39 years and not known that--but I, too, dig the reuben. I've already commented here about our shared silly grin (a gift from our grandfather) and the fact that we're both DayTimer nerds. Once again, it's difficult for us to deny the family connection--in spite of the fact that for years we thought we had nothing in common.

Somehow we got to talking about the book The Five Love Languages. We're studying that in my Sunday-school class right now. if you haven't read it, it's quite good. The general gist is that people tend to be "fluent" in one or more ways of saying "I love you." Sadly, we often marry people who speak a different language. So the trick is to figure out what language(s) our spouse "speaks," so we can respond in the same language. It's spookily true--and irritating. My wife says "I love you" through simple acts of service, like doing the dishes. And she hears in the same language. So if I want to send her the message that romance is in the air, I should probably do dishes. To say that's a foreign tongue to me is an understatement--and I find doing dishes pretty darned un-romantic. Well, to make a long story short, in talking about the book, we discovered that my wife and sister speak the exact same languages: acts of service, and quality time. And her husband and I also speak the same languages: words of encouragement, followed by physical touch. So on the one hand, I'm just like my sister. And on the other, I married her twin.

Years ago, I showed a friend my girlfriend's senior picture from high school. Right next to it was my sister's (same school, same class, same black drape and red rose, very similar brown eyes and hair). The friend said, "Dude, that's sick." Until then I had never noticed the similarity. As they have gotten older, they look less alike. But at 17, they were often mistaken for sisters. Ditto the reverse--my sister married a skinny, athletic, bespectacled guy that wears a flattop. Until recently, we even used the same barber. We've been mistaken for brothers.

Let's get one thing clear--the similarities are pretty superficial. In real life, if my sister and I had to live together, we'd be at each other's throats inside of ten minutes. Indeed we were, for most of the 80s when we shared an address as teenagers. But it's pretty cool that now that we are older, we can appreciate some of the other's qualities. And it does make things easier when we get together as couples that we all overlap in so many ways

1 comment:

Lori Fitzgerald said...

Actually, this just gives me proof that you don't listen to me...my love languages are words of encouragement and acts of service, in that order. However, at that particular moment there was quite a heated conversation going on about the love languages, so I can see how you'd get confused. And it makes for a better blog post.

Meanwhile, I'm not sure I agree with you on another point. We spend a week together every year, in a relatively small house, and get along swimmingly. Of course, you're usually hanging out with Adam, and I'm usually not...

On another note - I would say we've gotten better as we've gotten older. Thank goodness.

Dinner was fun - we should do that more often. I'll pencil it in my all 27 of my 2008 daytimers.