It is easy to talk about why you are attracted to a person, or what qualities in a spouse that attract you to them, like a good sense of humour, ability to be responsible, trustworthiness, loyalty etc when you were younger and single. But if you look closer you may notice that the person you are attracted to may not be like you at all, and for those who are married or are in a relationship, your selected partner tend to be very unlike yourself in nature. Do you ever wonder why this is so? This is a perspective post and here’s my take on this topic.
It is in my observation, within my circle of family and friends marriages, including my own, that the person we married have quite different traits from ourselves.
You’ve heard of the saying, opposites attract? Upon first glance it seems illogical that we would want to be with someone who is so different from us, and its true that this will cause many incompatibility issues between the couple if the differences are too big. It wouldn’t at all work out well for a marriage of two total opposites trying living the rest of their lives together.
In my opinion it’s actually ‘Some opposite traits are attractive’ to you and I will explain why there are advantages to marrying someone who is not exactly like us. Other than having the basic core principals aligned between the both of you, I believe we seek for those who have different character traits and backgrounds from us. Refer below explanation on why this is so.
1. We are drawn to qualities that we ourselves don’t posses but are admirable of
We may not be sociable, charismatic, fun loving or brave but when we see someone else who is we may actually admire this aspect of the person. It makes us want to be around them, a change from our regular self and sometimes, it rubs off a little on us too. From a family stand point, it makes sense to pair with someone who has different strengths than us, then together we are stronger and more.
For example, by nature I am actually a reserved and non confrontational person, albeit insecure at times. But my husband is totally opposite from me in this. In fact in the past I have had to hold him back from telling people off, or by speaking his mind too freely to others. In our earlier years it was a bit of a struggle here, I would vent out to him on some hurts or grievances I’ve experienced. He would want to ‘fix it’ and to confront them, then I will step in and change his mind. Over the years, we learned from each other and got better at managing our own reactions, he is more empathetic now , while I am braver about voicing my thoughts to others, pleasant or not. In this aspect we balance each other out well.
2. We want to be challenged and we find other views a way to sharpen ourselves
What does the other person bring to the ‘table’ of your marriage. Fresh perspective is one, or Yin to your Yang maybe? We are challenged by their different perspectives on life and topics, and we learn about things we would never have thought of if it were just us alone. There’s a phrase from the bible in Proverb’s 27:17 that goes “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” , which means that there is mutual gain to be had from being married to someone different from you.
My husband thought me about confidence, musical instruments, computer games, internet and technology, punk music, some apathy, and the not so ‘bubbly’ aspect of things in life. What I thought him? Probably some empathy, sensitivity, some random movie knowledge, forgiveness, wanderlust, spontaneity, some sadness and even some joy in small things.
That all being said, we did had our share of disagreements as well ( who wouldn’t with such differing personalities) which we worked through and are still continuing to work through in our marriage. What still continues though is the conversations we have that are never boring, and the humor and jokes we share, and the love for food and our children.
3. We are curious about other’s who are different from us
It is good to step out from our bubble and view things as how other’s might view it. In fact, we may be curious on how others operate and may even find it fascinating. We will probably learn a thing of too from them and its a healthy way to become more understanding and empathetic. Similar to how I feel when l see families with different races and the beautiful children who has a bit of both mum and daddy in them, with physical traits that are a mix and unique blend.
Now, theoretical scenario, you choose someone who is exactly like you. You like chocolate ice cream, he likes chocolate ice cream. When you go out, you buy the same ice cream. It may be fine, but then you will never get to try that awesome caramel coated vanilla flavor ice cream. Ever. Tragic.
When my husband and I eat out, we always try something different from each other, than we take bites from each other’s plates to get the variety. Sometimes we even plan out what we both should order, even up to the side dishes/appetizers and drinks, again usually with a wide range of variety, to make the most out of the meal.
Compatibility does not necessarily mean two persons of same character. It’s actually a a fitting of two different personalities together to form a better partnership. If you get it right, both parties thrive ( At least, you will thrive more later on after the kinks have being ironed out in the relationship). If you get it wrong, it will be a of lifetime struggle. Stakes are high on this decision, so it’s worth spending the time and effort to understand each other well. Physical attraction and love alone, is not enough.
Do I personally believe in love at first sight? Nope, it can be attraction at first sight, but the love will need to be built over time after getting to know each other , and learning each other’s vulnerability, weakness, hurts, strengths and gaining the other persons trust. After all that, if they choose to say “Hey, I know all this about you, and I’m choosing to stick by you, probably for the rest of my life” then dive in baybeh to level 2 aka relationships that lead to marriage. Therefore, my advise is to not rush into relationship commitments, unless you are really sure of yourself and each other.
Finally, along with the differences, it must be mentioned that at the foundation of each relationship the basic fundamentals such as mutual respect, trust and faithfulness and similar core principals in life needs to be established. Other than that, some differences are good to have in the mix.
Thanks for reading.