Opposites And Change

Real Relationship Advice

When I met Paul, I hardly noticed him. I was a plucky 21 year old young woman. I became acquainted with his girlfriend and his best friend. Both of them had large personalities and were fun to hang around. We would hang out talking and Paul, like a praying mantis, all legs and limbs, would sit on the floor and just listen; rarely saying anything except for a well-placed comment which would halt the conversation either because it was hilarious or thought provoking. When, I finally had the chance to speak with him alone, I found him to be my cerebral soul-mate. He was adroit, funny, poignant, challenging and I could bounce from Physics to Religion to Science Fiction to Psychology without giving him whip lash. Our biggest difference was that I entered a room with sirens, cheers and usually needed every ounce of attention while he slithered in and stayed in the shadows, hidden from view. 23 (almost 24) years later, I have become more introverted and he has become what I lovingly call, ‘ChitChatty Spice’.

How did it work?

Easy. Outward differences mean absolutely nothing. The core values of each individual in a relationship are the only predictors of whether a couple will survive. My need for attention was not a value but a learned behavior in childhood. Being an extravert or introvert is based on personality but mostly how you are raised.  Carl Jung was the first to give these ways of being attention. Most personality profiles include some form of extraversion and introversion. Jung’s understanding tended to be that if one was an extravert he/she was not an introvert. Myer’s Briggs explains that one personality type dominates the other. Twin studies show that there is a genetic component to these types as well.

Ultimately, these ways of being have little to do with your values. Yes, extroverts enjoy parties and gatherings while an introvert prefers privacy and more intimate settings, but these are hardly values. These are exceptions you make for your partner. These are things we do because our partners prefer them. It is like living with a person who is allergic to Cranberries and never buying the juice again so as to not tempt her (Paul has done that for me). Values are deep beliefs that usually, when added up, equate to an ideal, happy life.

In cases such as political party disparities, this could be more difficult to maneuver. Political parties are in essence, life philosophies. These belief systems are hardly based on things like right or left. They are more fundamental and really deal with what you think makes life worth living. We like to believe that these political parties are actual ways of dealing with the government but today it goes deeper. No longer can you say that that I am right on this and left on this. Couples in this predicament must make every attempt to set rigid boundaries when it comes to political opinions especially during elections.

When a couple shares values, life becomes very easy. You know how your partner feels about most things. This does not mean you can assume but you can feel safe that you share a core belief that will allow you to make the tough decision.

Take a look at this site and the values mentioned. Discuss them with your partner. How much do you share? http://www.values.com/teaching-values

One comment

  • rockonmommies

    I love this!!!  When my husband and I met he was the one that would prefer to stay home and I wanted to be out and about.  Now I’m more like he is.  I would rather hang out with a few friends over a quiet glass of wine with the girls.  When it comes to our values, politics and so forth, we agree on most.   
    Such a great article!

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