marriage advice

Marriage advice from a wife married to her total opposite

Marriage no joke, y’all.

Sometimes it feels difficult even on the good days, and it often feels impossible.

And that’s okay! It’s not to be easy. It if was everyone would do it. But at the end of the day, you can still find joy in a complicated marriage.

Marriage is defined by Merriam Webster as: “the state of being united as spouses in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.”

Here are some famous thoughts on marriage:

“There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.”

Robert C. Dodds
“The goal in marriage is not to think alike, but to think together.”

Pearl S. Buck
“A good marriage is one which allows for change and growth in the individuals and in the way they express their love.”

Rainer Maria Rilke
“A good marriage is that in which each appoints the other guardian of his solitude.”

Keep reading to see how I stay happy with my total opposite, and how you can too!

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Marriage advice for total opposites

Are you married? In a long term partnership? What are your thoughts on a healthy marriage?

For those that know my husband and I… I would be hard-pressed to find two people more different who are happily married. They say opposites attract, and that is definitely the case with us. To be fair, we have a good amount of common interests in music, television, etc. But personality-wise? Here’s the basics:

Me (Jen)

  • Introvert. I love nothing more than hiding from people under a blanket in front of Netflix.
  • Bookworm. I’m 5 books ahead on my GoodReads goal currently. So yeah.
  • Has bipolar disorder, struggles with fatigue and anxiety.
  • Shy. Like I get a lump in my throat when I have to introduce myself.
  • Sensitive. I get bent out of shape over nothing.
  • Loves sappy songs, books, and movies.
  • True crime junkie. I’m listening to a podcast about JonBenet as I type this.
  • Fitness lover. I like breaking a sweat!

Him (Ken)

  • Not necessarily always an extrovert, but he is an outgoing introvert.  He loves social gatherings.  Or at least, can fake it better than me.
  • Not really a reader.  He does listen to audiobooks about history, but that’s pretty much it
  • More emotionally normal than me.
  • He is the life of the party. Seriously, people love spending time with him.
  • Very logical. Not cold, but doesn’t think with his heart
  • NOT sappy. Even a little bit.
  • Finds true crime media distressing.
  • Not a big exercise fan.
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Someone might look at this list, and think, “There’s no way these people like each other. They’ve got to be miserable.”

Did you find yourself thinking that?

Yes, there are the occasional moments where I am looking for the nearest bus to push him in front of. But mostly? We are happily married, and make it work.  Why?

Compromise matters.

I feel like good old fashioned compromise is a still too-often overlooked skill in modern marriages. 2018/2019 is a time of strong opinions, keyboard warriors, and “black and white” interpersonal relationships.  We feel so strongly about so many things, that sometimes this habit of “my way or the highway” trickles into the bedroom.  And not in a fun, exciting way, either. We are losing the art of meeting each other in the middle.

So what is compromise? Compromise is a dance of give and take. It is meeting someone in the middle for the sake of your relationship, even if it is a little uncomfortable.

EXAMPLE: I’m gonna be blunt and say I hate going to parties.  I could genuinely love and cherish every single person there, but twenty or thirty of them in a room, with music so loud you can’t even hear each other talk? I’d rather just hang out with like 1-2 people at a time.

Ken (whether he genuinely enjoys large gatherings or not) makes it freaking work. He charmingly engages people in conversation, can somehow make himself heard over the din of the latest EDM track, and leaves with energy to spare. So, when we get invited places, how do we make it work?

marriage is, marriage tips

Marriage life hack

Ken has learned an amazing tool to make parties tolerable for me.  It sounds stupid but it’s simple: He tells me ahead of time how long we are staying.

This is INVALUABLE for introverted people or those with social anxiety.  If I know we will get there around 7 and leave around 10 for example, it is much easier. On the other hand, over the years, I have learned that it means a lot to him (especially if it is his social circle, not mine) if I attempt to push past my anxiety.

So, to make him happy, I try to make conversation with 1 or 2 new people while he is talking to someone else.  This shows him that I value his love of social time, whereas his giving our night out a time limit shows that he validates my anxiety and love of quiet.

It’s not perfect, and I could certainly come up with numerous other examples in which compromise fits into our married life. (We ogle other attractive people without judgment because we’re human beings!)

Acceptance is key.

Another word that defines our married life is acceptance.

How would you define acceptance? I define it as looking at everything that makes a person whole (their looks, their strengths, their weakness, their likes, their dislikes, etc.), and not holding any of it against them.

Ken has mastered the art of acceptance. It isn’t easy to be married to someone with a mental illness. I’m not just sad sometimes. I am anxious. I am tired. Sometimes, I am irritable. I’m not what most people picture when they picture their ideal spouse.

What does he do? He focuses on the other things that make up my personality. Thankfully, he sees me as more than just my illness. He sees my love for the kids. My love for him. My nerdiness. He sees my resilience. My strength.

marriage advice

On the other side of the coin, he isn’t perfect either. But I accept him. I see him as a separate person, not just some extension of me. I think that is really important. Just because we are married doesn’t mean he is my property or something I am duty-bound to control. He is a person. He has wants and needs that I might not always understand, but make up who he is.

Bonus life hack.

Are you struggling in your marriage? I recommend the book “The 5 Love Languages.” Knowing my husband’s love language has really helped me understand him and relate to him better. It is a must read, not just for married couples, but for anyone in a committed relationship.

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Snag your copy here!

What word do you feel defines your partnership? What word do you feel like could use a little work? Share with me in the comments below, and make sure you share this post!

Marriage is challenging, but you got this!

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Related posts for marriage advice:

Living with a depressed partner

Depression and Parenting Styles

Postpartum Depression Symptoms

Are you facing an identity crisis?

23 thoughts on “Marriage advice from a wife married to her total opposite”

      1. This is fantastic. The age old art of compromise is what is lacking in a lot of marriages. I have to admit that I have also thought of shoving my husband in front of a bus once or twice before (I’ve changed my mind though😝). These tips are very useful and so needed for two opposites to exist together peacefully, as opposed to collide catastrophically!

  1. Great post on an important topic! Marriage is rewarding, but it’s hard to live together. Too often, people throw in the towel early, before seeing if they can do the very hard work of personal development and relationship building. You can’t ever stop working on those things! My husband & I have been working on them for 31 years.

    Wonderful tips in this post, thanks for sharing. I have heard of the 5 Love Languages book, but haven’t read it yet. I will be sure to pick it up.

  2. I love the quote on marriage by Robert C. Dodds! That is a lovely piece of writing, as is much of the advice you share in your post.

    I have always believed that love bridges gaps, and I love the examples you have shared about how you make going to parties together work. That brought a smile to my face.
    Thanks for sharing this! 🙂

  3. This is great! My husband and I have been together for 26 years and married 24. He and I are like night and day…so I agree…opposites do attract! I’m OCD and is NOT! lol, He has learned to “like” the Hallmark Channel because he knows I love it! He gets on my nerves and me on his….and I wouldn’t change a thing….okay…maybe one…he could learn to be a tiny bit OCD! Ha! not gonna happen! I love your blog! Take Care and Stay Safe!

  4. I totally love this! I am quite similar to Ken and I love that you guys work so well as opposites. I think that the areas you’re opposite in are supercritical because you either work well together or not at all. I feel that opposites attract is totally true!

  5. I see so much of my husband and I in your marriage. We are extremely different, which made for an interesting situation after the honeymoon period. I agree compromise and open communication have been essential to the survival of our marriage.

  6. I think it’s important, in this climate of online dating where you’re matched on “compatibility”, to remember it’s OK for you and your partner to be different! My husband likes sport and I like culture, he’s practical and I’m creative. But those things compliment each other. And we share key principles and ideals. So it’s all good!

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