My husband and I are fire and water. He likes heavy metal, I like country. He likes constant noise (we have a television in each room), and I need quiet sometimes to recharge. He’s a golfer, I’m a runner. I will read anything and everything while he doesn’t get past the sports page. We are even members of different political parties. I think you get the idea that we are very different, but we are madly in love with each other despite these differences.
I don’t think being opposites necessarily means conflict because opposites can complement each other. One person’s strengths can support the other person’s weaknesses. I am not always comfortable in a large gathering when I don’t know people, but my husband loves meeting new people, and he is amazing at making conversation with anyone. I am in charge of parenting when mind games or creative discipline is needed. I love it when something I try has the desired effect on our children and my husband gives me that astonished look and says, “How do you do that?” Here are some ideas I think will help if you are attracted to your opposite.
Know each other and accept the differences. My husband likes to feel as if he is in control. He is also a perfectionist. I do not need to be in control, and I am very easygoing and flexible about how things are done. Although these tendencies are very different, we know that neither of us is going to change, so we make allowances for each other and understand what each other needs. When we go to the grocery store, I let him put the items in the cart in just the right spot even though when I am by myself, I throw things in here and there.
Choose your battles. There will be arguments but choose the situations where it is important to take a stand. Not everything is a capital offense.
Show respect. Don’t tear someone down because they are different from you. Embrace those differences, validate them, and realize that those differences will make life much more interesting.
Remove emotion when discussing. When you have different thought patterns and different likes and dislikes, discussions can be emotionally charged. Choose to remove the emotion and discuss and question to understand.
Communicate. Tell each other what you are feeling, what you need, and how to resolve situations.
See the humor. If you can see the humor in life, you have won the battle. Laugh together and diffuse any tension.
Don’t be discouraged if someone you care about is radically different from you. It’s all about finding the right way to navigate the relationship and support each other’s unique qualities.