Who knew
Thursday February 16th 2012, 11:44 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

Somehow a conversation this afternoon meandered to a random point that seems to have been exactly the right thing.

I had some friends over. I happened to mention that I’d learned, oh, decades ago, about a study done in California where the researchers wanted to find out who married whom and why. They tested many couples for all kinds of abilities and quizzed them on what kinds of things they liked, how they saw the world.

After sifting through thousands of results, there was one thing and only one thing that was true nearly across the board. Not religion, not race, not background.  The answer was so striking that I have never forgotten it.

Klutzes tended to marry klutzes. Coordinated people tended to marry coordinated people.

And in the couples where one was one way and the other the other, there tended to be accusations of Why can’t you be more careful! Responded to with Why are you being so judgmental? Can’t you tell I’m doing my best!

And somehow my saying that was exactly what one of the two women I was talking to needed to hear: Yes! Finally! It all made sense! She was the klutz in her marriage, and she was grateful to hear me say I very much was one too, though in my case I did marry a fellow klutz. It does make it easier.

Those researchers shared their results with at least some of their participants, as I remember, and were gratified at finding that quite a few mixed couples thereby came to a much better understanding of each other at last, where in some cases there had been great friction. Peace was created and in one case a marriage was actually saved.

Now if only I could go tell those people who spent the time to participate and those researchers back in I think the 1970’s that now, in 2012, their work continues to help others.

Understanding ourselves and one another clears the path for love.

13 Comments so far
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That is great! As a klutz, I can so empathize with other klutzes, and admire the coordinated. One of the things I lack is depth perception and recall one boyfriend howling with laughter when I stepped in a puddle he KNEW was deep and to me just looked flat! But blessed is she who can laugh at herself, for she shall never cease to be amused!

Comment by LynnM 02.17.12 @ 3:02 am

Many thanks to those who participated in the study. It’s not fun to go under a microscope, but it’s usually helpful…

Comment by Channon 02.17.12 @ 7:54 am

Interesting! I will note, however that biology is not destiny. I too am kind of a klutz- but it was a revelation to me when I started skiing and found that I wasn’t terrible. Skills can be learned. Practice makes a difference. I don’t regret that I never put in the hours of practice I would have needed to improve at say, softball or basketball, when I was in middle school. But at the time it might have helped to know that I didn’t have to avoid *all* sports because I was ‘hopeless at athletics’. And fifteen years of martial arts training has made me less klutzy. I’m never going to be a natural athlete, and when I’m not paying attention, I’m always going to do things like- to choose a non-random example- walk into the edge of a half-open door and bruise the crap out of my shoulder (that was last night-it’s still sore)- but it does help.

Comment by RobinH 02.17.12 @ 8:22 am

I’m a Klutz. Yes, capital “K.”
My Sweetie is ridiculously coordinated.
Our children are both more coordinated than I am, but my daughter leans toward klutzy, both were/are athletes.
So frustrating to walk into walls, or just fall down for no reason, with all of them convinced that I CAN help it…finally, I know that I am not alone!
(Actually, I’ve talked to many others who assure me that I am not the only one. Still, this research is validating…thanks, A!)

Comment by Pam 02.17.12 @ 8:56 am

The year I was 10, I grew 6 inches! I was always a tall, skinny, clumsy beanpole, but that extra height, gained so quickly, exacerbated my klutziness and made me even clumsier than I had been, and my sedentary, bookworm nature didn’t help. The doctor told my mother to have me take ballet, as he felt it would help with my coordination and adjustment to my body. I don’t know if it helped, but I loved taking it. It was physical accomplishment without competition. I wish I hadn’t quite when I hit middle school. I’m still a klutz, and a space cadet and married to a coordinated, focused guy. We’re two halves that make one whole!

Comment by shadylady1216 02.17.12 @ 9:10 am

There are different kinds of klutziness to take into account. I’m not good with balls. I think it’s because balls are actally magnetic–and I wore braces for a long time. Balls always hit you in the mouth if you’re wearing braces. On the other hand, I CAN put a volkswagen into reverse! But it is frustrating to come up against people who can easily do what you can’t. For example, we have a church choir director who doesn’t understand that most people can just look at a line of music and then sing it, because she can. Well, now my daughter with perfect pitch has joined the choir. No longer can the director have the organist change the key without somebody noticing! She’ll refer the to A in the music and Anna will point out that we’re singing a B Flat. Hah! But this is an important reminder to me to be patient with other about things that are easy for me.

Comment by LauraN 02.17.12 @ 9:27 am

Ha! I am a klutz married to a non-klutz; when Mae was born, I wanted to give her the middle name of Grace, but Robb wouldn’t do it. I happened to ask why, as I tripped over my feet. He just looked at me.

Yeah, we went with Serenity.

Comment by Kristine 02.17.12 @ 9:49 am

Good Heavens! Are klutzes the only people you know? Before my brain injury, I don’t think I was a klutz, and neither was Amalie. But insofar as that study goes, and successful marriages, I have my own beliefs, backed up with some studies. For example, both having a sense of humor and both having similar values (MOST important in my mind). Opposites may attract, but I don’t think for long.

Comment by Don Meyer 02.17.12 @ 10:06 am

wow! talk about a “light bulb” moment! thanks

Comment by Bev 02.17.12 @ 11:08 am

Goodness, you’ve struck a chord! However I have to admit to playing on the coordinated team, and so is my husband. He played french horn in the marching band. And I did gymnastics and dance. Today I’m known for my ability to walk, talk, and knit at the same time. 🙂 I also agree with Don that values and humor are absolutely a longevity factor.

Comment by DebbieR 02.17.12 @ 3:16 pm

that’s brilliant! And like you said, so simple it’ll stay with me.

Comment by Lene 02.17.12 @ 8:33 pm

i remember Lucy Lawless (Xena) saying that her nickname in school was “Unco”, for un-coordinated. she must have grown out of it, or there was a LOT of creative editing post-production!

Comment by Tola 02.18.12 @ 4:43 pm

Ah-ha! I am partnered with a fellow klutz, but I am an extreme case even among the clumsy. (As in, I’m pretty sure my parents didn’t want me to mow the lawn because they thought I’d hurt myself.) So he still mocks me . . . but it’s mostly in good fun. And well should he fear me, I dropped a fork on his foot once–blood ensued!

Comment by Lanafactrix 02.18.12 @ 8:29 pm

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