What’s the Secret for Making your Relationship Work When you and Your Partner are So Different?
By Sylvia Smith
Marrying your opposite can be irritating. You never want to do the same things and you’re completely different social creatures. He wants to stay in and order pizza, you want to go out for drinks with friends. You want to check out a new museum opening, she wants to go to the mall.
It may seem daunting at first, but dating someone different from you can be a complete blessing in disguise. After all, how boring would life be if you were married to a clone of yourself?
Sure, it’s great to have common interests with your spouse, but being in a relationship with your opposite adds spice to your life. You get to experience new and exciting things. Being exposed to different opinions and ideas will also add to personal growth.
Opposites attract in marriage, but it doesn’t always feel like fireworks. These are the top secrets to making your relationship work when you and your spouse are complete opposites.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
When opposites attract in marriage it can lead to some pretty wild disagreements. This makes it so important for both partners to learn how to communicate openly with one another.
You should never go out of your way to say something hurtful to your spouse. However, honesty is key when it comes to communicating. No matter how awkward the subject matter is, couples are encouraged to be honest about their thoughts and feelings.
Communicate clearly and respectfully with your spouse. This helps couples avoid hurtful misunderstandings and will promote healthy conversations in the future.
Agree to Disagree
As in any marriage, there will be some occasions where you just don’t agree. Perhaps you have completely different political views, religious beliefs, or social standings. Arguing about these topics can lead to immensely hurt feelings and can even build resentment.
Have you ever heard the lamentation not to talk about religion or politics at social gatherings? This can be a great piece of advice for couples who have opposite social views. You must decide which is more important, your love for your partner or who you last voted for.
The best piece of relationship advice for disagreements is to agree to disagree. You’ll save yourselves a lot of grief!
Enjoy Time to Do Your Own Things
Every so often there will be times when your different personalities don’t meet in the middle. He wants to go to a new club opening and you want to go to bed early. Then what?
You may not always agree on what makes a stellar Friday night, and that’s okay! Use this as an opportunity to embrace your independence. Go out with friends and spend time taking care of your relationships with friends and family. Pursue your own hobbies and goals away from your partner.
It is healthy to spend some time away from your spouse and tending to your own desires. It also makes you more excited and appreciative of your partner when you come back together at the end of the night.
Learn to Compromise — Often
Compromise is another key ingredient to a healthy relationship. You want to see your partner happy. You want to be the one they turn to when they have exciting news to share or an afternoon to spend with someone.
As with any good marriage, you must be able to meet in the middle. There will be some occasions where you’ll have to watch his boring action movies or where he will agree to go ice skating when you’d both rather be doing something else.
Resolve Conflicts Like a Professional
Every couple fights. It’s a fact of life. And when you are in a relationship with someone vastly different from yourself, arguments are bound to happen. It’s how you handle the arguments going forward that shows whether or not you will be successful in your romantic relationship.
Don’t use a disagreement as a platform for airing your grievances or picking on your spouse. Avoid bringing up how different you are as a negative trait during an argument.
Instead, use your conflict as an opportunity to listen and communicate your problems with each other. Speak with the view to solving the problems, not making it worse.
Don’t interrupt. Don’t shout. Don’t name-call. Just, listen.
Find a Common Interest
Spending time apart and learning to appreciate one another’s hobbies is great. But you can’t do that 100% of the time. Strive to find a common interest and then run with it.
Look for things that you both enjoy doing together. Do you like taking long walks or exercising? Studies show that couples who exercise together relieve stress and are more likely to stick to their exercise routines.
Plus, as it turns out, working may have an arousing effect on women.
Or maybe you both enjoy reading and can make a date of reading out loud to each other or snuggling in bed listening to an audiobook.
Whatever you enjoy doing, try and find a common bond of interest with your spouse. This will make planning date nights a lot easier.
Do Not Try to Change Each Other
If you are with someone who is your polar opposite, don’t try and change them. Embrace them! These are the differences that will help you to grow.
If anything should change, it should be your attitude. Instead of viewing your differences as a negative, think of them as a positive. Learn to see things from your spouse’s point of view and enjoy the new life lessons along the way.
One of the best pieces of relationship advice for making marriage work when you’re both so different is to agree to disagree. Having opposites attract in marriage should never be regarded as something negative! Embracing one another’s differences can teach couples to communicate, compromise, and resolve conflicts respectfully.
This story was previously published on The Good Men Project.
About Sylvia Smith
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. By taking purposeful and a whole-hearted action, Sylvia feels that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one.