Opposites attract, but can they stay together?
There will always be conflicting differences in any relationship because no two people are alike. Some common differences are in hobbies, habits, political leanings, religious beliefs, sex levels, values and expectations. But how do you make a relationship work when partners are polar opposites?
Said one marriage therapist who hosts a marriage retreat in Chicago: “Spending your life with your opposite can add spice to your life, but it can also be very irritating. The relationship can work if the partners learn how to manage conflicts and embrace each other’s strengths.”
So, how to make love work with your complete opposite? Read on!
Tips To Make Your Relationship Work When Your Partner Is Completely Different From You
Don’t Try To Change Each Other.
While influencing someone to change bad behavior or improve themselves is helpful to the person and your relationship, trying to change the essence of who they are — their interests, hobbies and personality — can lead the relationship down a path of disappointment, disillusion and resentment. It can make your partner feel unworthy of your love, anxious and insecure.
Demanding change from your partner is a betrayal of sorts. It sends the message that your love is conditional, and it creates an emotional distance between the two of you.
Be Open To Trying New Things.
Marrying an opposite allows you to experience new things and this exposure can be enriching. Try different foods, places and adventures with your better half. This openness will help you to make deeper, longer lasting connections with your partner.
While the unfamiliar can make you feel anxious and scared, that vulnerable feeling is actually good for you. Author and research profession, Dr. Brené Brown has found that embracing your own vulnerability makes your life better.
Lean into the discomfort of vulnerability, she says, because it allows you to experience the fullness of love, belonging, trust, joy and creativity.
Learn To Compromise.
Relationship expert Dr. John Gottman found that successful, long-lasting unions have this in common: men and women allow themselves to be influenced by their partners.
You can only be influential if you accept influence.
Accepting influence is a part of the art of comprise. Everyone gains and everyone loses. The important thing is that partners feel understood and respected.
When partners compromise, conflicts are de-escalated. They are saying to each other, “I see your uniqueness and I honor it. I want to build and fortify the bridge into your heart.”
Final Note: Give and Take
Remember, a relationship is all about giving and taking. Acknowledge your partner when he or she is the one “giving” in a situation. Check in with your partner and see if resentment is building over the sacrifice and take time to show your appreciation rather than taking it for granted. If you are the one “giving,” take ownership of the decision and move forward. Do not hold the sacrifice over your partner’s head.
Most of all, embrace the way your differences makes your relationship edgy and exciting.