Q: I’m an extrovert and want to have people over; my spouse is an introvert who prefers a quiet evening at home with a book. How can we compromise?
A: So often I find in counseling that although opposites attract, usually the more similarities between the spouses the stronger the marriage.
When it comes to a married couple made up of an extrovert and an introvert, they can fill the gaps in each other’s personalities and make their marriage exciting—as long as they understand each other. It can be good for the introvert to get out more; it can be good for the extrovert to have some down time. But it also helps to understand that under pressure (which every marriage faces), an extrovert can become sharp tongued and an introvert can become isolated.
Couples need to honor their differences. Don’t try to change your spouse because he or she is created by God’s design.
Take this example from a husband who shared with us a point of contention he and his wife had over one of their differences:
“One of the differences my wife and I had when we first got married is that we would get into major arguments over simple things such as rolling the toothpaste tube. I grew up where you rolled the toothpaste tube to make sure you got all the toothpaste out. She grew up in a family where you twisted it to make sure you got it all out. I got upset when I saw a twisted tube; she would get upset when she saw a rolled tube. But we learned that the end result was more important. We found out that the tube was always empty before we threw it away, so we decided it was not necessary to argue over how it got empty but just make sure that it was empty. We learned to love each other and make sure that the toothpaste tube was empty.”
Validate each other, honor each other, and encourage each other to grow. As you do that, you can counter some of your spouse’s weaknesses with your strengths, and vice versa. Let this potential “hot spot” be a recipe for fun as you learn new things!