Making an introvert-extravert marriage work in the long term can seem impossible at times, but the truth is, it’s not. If you and your partner want to make your introvert-extravert marriage work, then you can do a few things that can tremendously help you and your relationship.
There’s a particular scene that used to be played on repeat in my marriage. It was my husband, approaching me – cautiously because he already had a feeling of impending danger about how this was going to unfold – with an invitation to this or that random event involving a group of people getting together.
I would say yes because I felt bad to always say no, but I would regret it immediately. And at some point between accepting the invitation and the actual event, I would start an argument about it. Couldn’t we stay home just the two of us? Why the need for constant interaction that was mostly going to consist of superficial small talk anyway? What’s the point? Why is my presence necessary?
My husband, on the other hand, had a hard time understanding why I wasn’t more like him. All these people were so nice and so much fun. Why was I rejecting them? Why couldn’t I just sacrifice a few hours for his sake? What was the big deal?
The big deal was that my husband and I happen to have very different personalities – including the fact that I’m an introvert, while he is an extravert.
I’m an INFJ in the Myers-Briggs system and as introverted as an introvert gets. There is no such thing as too much alone time for me. And while I can sometimes act extraverted, my preference is definitely to hang out in the la-la land that is my brain. My picture should be slapped onto all dictionaries next to the word “dreamer”.
My husband is an ESFJ and he is the doer to my dreamer. He is an extravert and will quickly grow antsy without a mile-long activity list and likes the stimulation that comes from being social.
So how does a couple like this make a marriage work?
Well, I’ll be completely honest here and say that it hasn’t been easy and that it will be a work in progress for the rest of our lives. But with time and maturity, we have figured out how to accept each other’s temperaments and live in harmony (for the most part anyway ).
Here are my seven tips for how to make it work based on 25 years and counting in an introvert-extravert relationship.
7 Secrets To A Successful Introvert-Extravert Marriage
1. Be Aware.
The number one – by LIGHT YEARS most important – ingredient of a healthy introvert-extravert marriage is awareness. Even with introversion getting quite a bit of press in recent years, bunches of people still don’t know that the differences we see in introverts and extraverts arise from brain differences that we are likely born with. And there is a whole lot of science out there backing this up if you do some googling.
To live happily ever after, it’s important that both parties of the introvert-extravert couple:
- Recognize that their differences are normal personality variations.
- Stop thinking that there must be something wrong with the other person.
- Stop waiting for the other person to change.
So just snap your fingers and make that happen!
Just kidding. In my own marriage, I did first snap my fingers, but then I also printed some articles I found online and made my husband kindly asked my husband to read them. And then I danced around in a very extraverted way and shouted “SEE, THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH ME!”
2. Respect Each Other’s Energy Needs.
The most crucial difference between extraverts and introverts has to do with energy. Extraverts tend to feel energized by social situations and high activity levels. Introverts, on the other hand, will have their energy depleted faster in social situations. They usually need quiet and solitude to recharge after socializing.
The party that gets my husband all jazzed up leaves me with a tension headache. I like hanging out with people, but I need time to recover afterward. And I don’t just sortofkindof need it. It’s vital for my well-being like air to breathe and water to drink. I have tried living without regular quiet time and the results are not pretty. First I get exhausted, and if it goes on long enough, I get depressed.