Why It’s Okay to Be Different From Your Partner

At first look, it doesn’t seem like my husband and I have a lot in common. He likes Hip-Hop, I like Jack Johnson. I’m more aloof, and he’s friendlier. Also, where I’m more emotional, he’s more logical. Have topics brought us some frustration before? Yes, it can be difficult to make a decision when you’re so wound up and he’s so relaxed. His go-with-the-flow attitude, often collides with my need to plan everything out ahead of time. So how do we make it work?

Communication. So how do you make it work when you differ so much on these important aspects? Often, it’s a matter of letting the other person know your reasoning. The why of things. That does not mean we automatically agree when we hear the other’s thoughts, but it is easier to come to an agreement.

Negotiate. Some couples shy away from this for fear that it will provoke an argument. But if you have set the proper foundation for respect, you should be able to have an open conversation on how to negotiate a compromise.

Pick and choose. Decide what really  goes against your way of thinking and what you can learn to live with. For instance, the fact that I’m more spontaneous and he’s more careful only means I need to provide him with some priming (e.g. letting him know what’s going to happen ahead of time). Once I’ve primed him on…what’s happening tomorrow, for example; he’s more likely to want to participate because he’s had that time that he needs to think about it. This is something I chose to be important to me. However, when it comes to me being an introvert and him an extrovert. I’m willing to just live with that.

So, in the end, it’s okay to be different. In fact, having these difference can be interesting topics of exploration. However, the more different you are the stronger your communication must be and is a skill that must be honed daily.

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