Opposites attract. That’s common knowledge, right? It’s an adage that’s been around for a long time and, I mean, Paula Abdul sang about it in the 80s, so it has to be true.
It makes sense. We are attracted to people who are different from us. It is human nature to be interested in those things that are unique. While it may be true that we are initially attracted to people who are our opposites, the question is, can a relationship be formed and last past the initial attraction? If so, how long a relationship can be sustained? Is there a point of too much oppositeness? Can a marriage really last if there are too many differences?
Research on this topic is plentiful and all boils down to the idea that having opposite ideas about certain important subjects; such things as religion, desire to have children, core values, whether cold pizza is an acceptable breakfast (it is NOT), etc. could make a successful marriage very, very difficult.
Yes, of course, a marriage could be doomed if the core values are too dissimilar. There are some opposites, however, that might, in fact, help a marriage. I have been married to my wonderful husband for 16 years now and I have discovered the following ways in which being opposite from your spouse could be helpful.
Morning vs. Night People
I am aware that there are people who actually enjoy waking up at the ass crack of dawn and starting their day with glee. I, however, am not one of them. I prefer to burn the midnight oil (and 1 a.m. oil) and sleep in until the crack of, oh, say 9:30 or so (okay, FINE, 10:00).
The problem is that my husband loves to sleep in as much as I do. If he were my opposite and liked to get up early, a lot of arguments and resentment could have been avoided when the kids were babies and neither one of us wanted to get up when the kids did.
Introvert vs. Extrovert
I would classify myself as an introvert and my husband as an extrovert. He likes to be around people and enjoys entertaining, I like to curl up with a good book, peace and quiet, and my own thoughts. While our differences in this area can be problematic as we are making weekend plans, ultimately it has helped both of us. It has helped me to leave my comfort zone and socialize every now and then, and him to learn to love spending time at home with his family.
Chocolate Lover vs. Non-Chocolate Lover
I love chocolate. My husband loves me. So he lets me have all the chocolate. Also, he really doesn’t like chocolate, but I like to think he doesn’t eat it because he loves me so much.
Spender vs. Saver
A friend of mine explained to me that her husband likes to save money and she likes to spend it which works well in their marriage. “How can that work well?” I asked.
Her response made sense. Her husband has helped her learn how to save, and she has helped her husband see that sometimes spending more is better. For example, it is better to spend $120.00 on some leather boots that will last for many years, rather than spending $40.00 on cheap boots that will have to be replaced every year when the sole becomes detached and flops on the floor when you walk down the hall. Okay, that was my example. I buy cheap boots.
Logical Thinker vs. Emotional Thinker
My husband is a very black and white, sequential thinker. He is a CPA and runs numbers in his head all day long. He thinks in order; steps, which makes him a terrible multi-tasker. I, on the other hand, think more emotionally. I make decisions based on what feels right. I am a psychologist and work with feelings and emotions every day. I am also the queen of multi-tasking. In fact, as I am typing this, I am alternating tabs between checking my work emails, editing photos, and, oh yeah, I am also eating some Chex Mix while watching House Hunters on t.v. and looking at Facebook on my phone. If my husband were doing that many things at once, his head would explode. For real. If he is trying to send a text message he literally cannot hear anything happening around him until he is finished.
The reason being opposite in our ways of thinking is helpful in our marriage is that, if we weren’t, nothing would ever get done. I mean, nothing. Oh, sure, we would get some daily tasks done. I would get a lot more accomplished than him. But if we were making long term plans we would be screwed. If we both operated like my logical thinking husband, we would be so busy planning for the future that we would never get past the planning steps. If we both followed our hearts before our brains like I tend to, we’d probably be living on a remote island somewhere trying to sell seashell necklaces to survive. Which may be fun for awhile, but not long term.
It is a good thing that we are opposite so we can balance each other out and make better than questionable life decisions for ourselves and our children.
So, you see? There are times in which being opposite is good for a marriage. Variety is the spice of life, right? Did Paula Abdul sing about that with an animated cat, too?