We’ve all heard the saying “opposites attract,” but balancing each other out can be more challenging in practice, particularly when you are sharing the same space. One of the biggest challenges newlywed couples face is coming together at the end of the day. Is it a time for connection and socializing? Or is time for reflection and aloneness?
How we receive energy often coincides with how we feel loved. If you're hoping for quality time and conversation at the end of the day and your partner needs private time, you might wind up feeling unloved and resentful. Believe it or not, many couples find themselves in my office with a marriage crises because they each prefer to spend their time differently. The good news is, you can absolutely work through these differences.
So, how do you strike a balance? Keep these three tips in mind.
Introvert or Extrovert?
It’s helpful to know where you and your partner focus your attention and get your energy. Do you like to spend time in the outer world of people and things (extraversion), or in your inner world of ideas and images (introversion)? Where we fall on this scale will determine how we like to spend our free time and how we prefer to unwind at the end of a busy day.
If you aren’t sure, taking a test like the Myers-Briggs assessment or Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution introvert assessment can help you determine what you tend toward. Knowing where you and your partner fall is a critical first step and can help you be mindful of and balance each other’s needs for social interaction.
Don’t Be Afraid to Communicate Your Needs
It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that your significant other should just know your needs without you having to say anything. Unfortunately, human beings aren’t mind readers and this expectation is a great recipe for resentment.
Be open about your need for downtime or your need for more social interaction. Once you have communicated your needs, either for the weekends or the end of the day, you can set up a plan to make sure both of your needs are accommodated.
Embrace the Give and Take
Remember, being able to compromise is an important feature of every successful relationship. Come up with a plan that is solution-focused and consider compromising by agreeing on the amount of time you’ll spend recharging his way and yours. If at the end of the day, for example, he wants to go to trivia night with friends and you would prefer staying in to watch TV with a glass of wine, find a way for you both to be able to recharge. Spending time together doesn’t mean you always have to choose between an introvert-centric activity or an extrovert-centric activity. Together, you could watch a show over dinner and then show up to trivia a little late. Or maybe you do happy hour at trivia and leave a bit early so you can recharge after all that socializing. Don’t think of this kind of sacrifice as a burden—think of it as a way to invest in your relationship!
Having different needs when it comes to social interaction doesn’t mean the relationship can’t work. It just requires healthy doses of open communication, understanding, and a willingness to compromise.
Photo Credit: Drew Coffman