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Do opposites still attract during a quarantine?

Home Front: The real test of that theory — and of many marriages — may be when you’re stuck at home. Together.

More than once, I’ve heard the statement “opposites attract.” Recently I decided to do some research to see if that premise is true. I went to my standby for fact and fiction and googled the words “opposites attract.”

As you might imagine, I received conflicting information. Some “experts” backed the theory 100%, and others vacillated between the premise being possible to declaring it complete baloney. I’m not certain why I wasted time reading about the various opinions, but I did.

I’m almost sure I know why Kendra searched through the collection of thoughts on this topic. It definitely has to do with COVID-19, or rather with the social distancing we’re required to do. Living on a farm in a rural area means we are automatically separated from our neighbors. And planting corn and beans (as Mother Nature allows) means we can still go to work. But for weeks now, Kendra has been quarantined with an introvert. She is an extrovert.

I love where we live, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s beautiful and peaceful and just the right amount of quiet. But I was missing the fun of traveling to see our 11 grandkids. I was missing going to dinner after church with friends. I was missing making new friends in the grocery store. Yes, I said “making new friends.” Years ago, I learned that was one of my, let’s just say, abilities (or maybe quirks).

We were on a family vacation with our three sons and, as always, we’d packed food in the car so we could avoid stopping for expensive meals. Despite the careful planning, about halfway into the trip we discovered we needed to get a few groceries. John spotted a store and quickly pulled into the parking lot. As I opened the door to hop out, our eldest son smiled and said, “Don’t make any new friends, Mom. We need to keep moving.”

This was a boy who knew his mom. To Kendra, no one is a stranger. That person is simply a friend she hasn’t met yet. If my memory serves me right, she did a pretty good job of speeding through the store that day.

So, do opposites attract? For the two of us, the answer to that question would be yes. For 30 years, I flew a KC-135 in the Air Force and Air Force Reserve and was very content to be in the cockpit with only three other crew members and next to no opportunity for making new friends.

Living and learning from my “opposite” husband has helped me appreciate the hours and hours I spend on the tractor as I cultivate each spring. In our case, opposites do attract. Or, to quote John speaking to our audience at a marriage seminar, “Kendra is here making new friends. I like all of you, but you wear me out.” 

Opposites may attract, but they should never attack!

John and Kendra Smiley farm near East Lynn, Ill. Email, or visit The opinions of this writer are not necessarily those of Farm Progress/Informa.

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