I’m an introvert. I was an extrovert for two months my sophomore year of college. Then the charade exhausted me, and I reverted back to my introverted tendencies. There are moments when I think it would be awesome if I could push out of my personality and adopt a more outgoing, friendly exterior. But that’s just not who I was created to be.
Interestingly enough, I married an extreme extrovert. He’s the life of a party. He talks to anyone, anywhere, anytime. And he gets energy from being around (very) large groups of people.
We are so polar opposite when it comes to our personalities.
His extroverted personality attracted me to him in the first place. We were friends first, but I had a crush on him (and I’m pretty sure he was crushing on me, too). After several months, he asked me out. Being the introvert that I am, I said no. A week later, he asked me out again. I said no. Again. I told myself that when he asked for the third time (because I knew deep down that he would), I would say yes. He did. So I did. I wanted to date him.By that point, I had a huge crush on him. I wanted him to ask me more than once to make sure he really, really wanted to date me. Third time’s a charm, right?
Fast forward through two years of dating, an 18-month engagement, and we finally said I do. I felt like I was playing house my first year of marriage. It took awhile for us to find our new “normal” as a newlywed couple.
This past October, we celebrated twelve years of marriage. And we still struggle with finding our new “normal” at times. What attracted me to him in the beginning becomes an annoyance at times (and vice versa). His fun, outgoing, loud personality drains me. He craves being around people all.the.time. He wants to go, go, go.
While not a loner, I definitely need time to myself. My husband gets lonely when no one is around. I get reenergized. Hanging out with people all the time doesn’t work for me. I just can’t. Groups and parties overwhelm and exhaust me. I put on a great front and have fun. But then, once all the people are gone and I’m in my own home, I need to recover by being by myself. My husband doesn’t understand this—at all. I prefer smaller groups of people with more intimate, deep conversations. I like sharing meals and playing games with one or two other couples. My husband lives by the philosophy of the more the merrier.
And you know what? Neither of us are wrong.
Our personalities are what make us who we are—and what attracted us to each other. We struggle with finding balance for our extreme opposite preferences.
But it’s important to fight for that balance. If one gets their way all the time, resentment builds up and it really hurts the marriage.
While my husband would have people revolving through our front door all week long, he knows that I can’t handle that. So we compromise. For example, this past Christmas we had parties and events going on three days in a row. When Christmas day rolled around, it was just our little family at home with no plans. It was glorious…to me. My husband? Bored after about three hours. He wanted to call up friends and invite them over. But he also knew that I needed time holed up in my home with my family of five to recover before I was ready to come out and play again.
That’s what a healthy marriage looks like. We search for ways to meet both of our personality needs. Every Sunday evening, we host and lead a community group of fourteen people from our church. That often means that Saturday night is time for just our family. Or if we do have plans on a Saturday, my husband already knows that we need a night in on Friday.