When Opposites Attract

My husband and I had been friends for two years before we started dating, and we dated almost another two years before getting married. In all of that time together, we thought we were so much alike. We liked the same music, the same hobbies, we had the same friends, the same beliefs….yet we were only married for about two days when we discovered that we were actually complete opposites. Sure, we had taken some personality inventories while dating and in premarital counseling, and others pointed out that we were opposites, but we didn’t believe it because we were so blinded by our love.

Two nights into our honeymoon, we came face to face with our differences. He liked to stay up all night and I liked to go to bed early. He didn’t like all of the covers on the bed while I wanted to be bundled up. He wanted to go outside and be active but I wanted to stay in and watch a movie. It wasn’t long before I began to get discouraged. “We are so different!” I cried. “We don’t have anything in common anymore! What happened?”

What happened was that our true selves emerged. Not only were we different in almost everything we liked to do, but at the very core of our personalities we were polar opposites! He ran to say hello to people we barely knew in the grocery store, while I hid behind the display in aisle five. How was this going to work out?

My husband and I have now been married for fourteen years, and after all that time, we are no more alike than we used to be. We have grown and matured together, however, and our marriage has been strengthened by our many differences.

The differences you and your spouse have can either tear you apart or bring you together. Here are five tips for strengthening your relationship if you are married to your opposite:

  1. Don’t try to change your spouse. God created him or her with a specific personality, abilities and strengths. If you are married to your opposite, his weaknesses will likely wear you out fast, because those are probably your strengths. Instead of trying to change those weaknesses, focus on his strengths. His strengths are likely the areas you are weak in.
  2. Give each other freedom. If you are an extrovert, recognize that your introverted spouse needs time alone to recharge. Give her the freedom to be alone and not heap guilt upon her for that. In the same way, if you are an introvert married to an extrovert, allow him the freedom to be around people when he needs to be, because that is how he gets energized. Give each other freedom to be yourselves without imposing guilt.
  3. Encourage your spouse. It can be easy, if you are married to your opposite, to always focus on the major differences between you. There are many frustrations as you see things and do things in completely different ways. Rather than always focusing on those negatives, focus on the positive traits your spouse possesses. Compliment her on what she is doing well.
  4. Seek to understand your spouse better. There are hundreds of books directed towards couples who are married to their opposites. My husband and I gained a lot of insight into our own relationship by reading books on personalities and love languages. Authors Tim & Beverly LaHaye and Fred & Florence Littauer are both couples married to their opposites who have written helpful books on the subject.
  5. Ask God to change your heart. In his book Sacred Marriage, author Gary Thomas says that the purpose of marriage “is not to make us happy, but to make us holy.” God can use your spouse to change your life and refine you if you let Him. Being married to your opposite will test your patience, your love, and even your joy at times. You may even be tempted to give up and go find someone else who will be easier to love. But God has placed this person in your life for a reason, and He wants to use your spouse as an instrument to bring you closer to Himself.

Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” God can use people in our lives, including our opposites, to make us better people. Don’t believe the lie that you would be happier with someone else, or someone who is more like you. God is doing a great work in your life through your spouse. Take time to thank Him for your “opposite” today.
*photo credit: Multimaniaco via photopin cc


Jaimie Bowman is a pastor's wife, speaker and writer who lives in Southern California. She loves speaking truth and grace into people's lives and helping them find their unique purpose. Together with her husband and two sons (ages 6 and 8), you can often find them trying to find new places to explore. You can find out more about her at JaimieBowman.com and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

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