Compromising When You’re Married to Your Opposite

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married to oppositeThey always say opposites attract. In my case, that is certainly true.

In many ways, my husband and I are polar opposites. I find comfort in the familiar and am more reserved with my risk-taking. When I have to make a decision, I like to think through all my options before choosing. Even when I do try new things, I always look forward to coming home to what is familiar.

My husband is different. He likes to shake it up and test the limits. While he enjoys stability in some things (like a loyalty to his job and his family), in other things he takes risks and is not as worried about things not working out as planned. He’ll order the crazy thing on the menu. He’ll want to travel somewhere off the grid. He’d rather try something new than sit back and weigh the pros and cons.

Making decisions when you’re married to someone with a very different personality can be hard. Really hard. My husband would argue that I overthink decisions to death. I’d argue that he doesn’t think them through enough. Sometimes, this brings us to a total stalemate, and it feels like we are arguing about how to make decisions more than the actual decision itself!

When we feel divided, I remember that there are distinct advantages to being married to someone who has a different style.

1. We each bring a different perspective to the decision we are making. My husband might see solutions I hadn’t thought of before. I might bring up some reservations that are valid before we move forward. Together, our ability to see the decision from different perspectives helps us move forward more confidently.

2. We balance each other. I can appreciate the light-heartedness my husband has. He helps me cut it out when I’m mulling over a decision that really isn’t that important. He reminds me that most decisions can be made and undone all the time. I help my husband stop and think a little more before charging ahead. It’s not that we can’t go forward with an idea, but maybe there is a way to do it that would work out better.

3. We challenge each other. This goes beyond balancing. Each of us helps the other move out of his or her comfort zone. Sometimes compromise isn’t possible. In this case, we have to at least agree on who gets to “win” this decision, knowing that next time it may be the other one’s turn to bend.

My husband and I keep trying to find ways to compromise so that both of us feel heard. I certainly don’t have all the answers. After 10 years of marriage and 4 kids, the decisions we have to make about parenting, where to live, and how to spend or save our money, get even more complicated. All I know is that we keep trying to see what works and make adjustments along the way. In many ways, it feels like our marriage is just getting started!

Did you marry someone who has very different personality traits from you? How do you compromise?

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Kate S. is a mom at home in Fairfield with her 4 kids (2 girls and 2 boys) and one puppy. Kate's sister introduced her to Chris, whom she married in 2010. They welcomed their first daughter in 2012, a son in 2014, another daughter in 2016, another boy in 2018, and finally a puppy in 2021. Kate and Chris's parenting motto would probably be, "Just take them with you." As a family, they continue to enjoy activities like skiing, kayaking, and hiking by taking turns to teach the older kids or strapping babies into backpacks. Kate can be found out and about exploring with her kids, volunteering at their schools, or laughing with other moms at the beautiful chaos of life with children.

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