There are moments where I wonder how we have succeeded as a couple for almost 20 years, because we truly couldn’t be more different. Our choices in music, food and entertainment? Night and day. I am happy to sit in a quiet room and read a book for hour on end, and most days I don’t even turn the television on. The minute he wakes up? He turns the stupid noise box on and goes about his business. He loves spicy food, I’m a wimp. He loves 80’s hair bands. I am a Christian music kind of girl – with the occasional shift to the country station. (And if we’re honest? I much prefer audiobooks, podcasts and talk radio.)
But these things? They’re minor. We overlook them and make compromises.
The big elephant in our house? My husband is an introvert. I? Am an extreme extrovert.
For years? This was great for us. My husband was on the road as a truck driver and I was home, living my extroverted, social butterfly life. I had church, and coffee dates. Girl Scouts and hockey practice. Homeschool groups and playdates. We wake up in the morning and we hit the ground running.
My husband? I think he’d be satisfied to rarely leave the house. And it drives me insane. (And it tends to shock people, because when they meet him? He takes a few moments to warm up, but after that? He doesn’t shut up.) But being an introvert doesn’t always equal socially awkward.
See, I thrive on action. I need to see people. I unwind by spending an evening with good friends chatting. He needs space, he gets anxious if he’s overwhelmed by the goings on around him. So we’ve had to find a give and take that works for us, and sometimes we have to be ok with me going to an event or outing without him.
I want to share with you a few tips we have found make our mismatched personalities thrive together.
3 Tips to make social situations easier
1. Have a signal. When we’re out and about? My husband and I have a signal that he’s reached his limit. We’re not a super hand-holding couple – we never have been. But if we’re out and about and he grabs my hand? It’s his signal. We start our goodbyes and wind down the conversations we’re involved in.
2. Set your calendar in advance. The only thing my husband hates more than huge crowds? Being surprised. (And as an extrovert? I’m very “by the seat of my pants” when it comes to activities. We have an agreement that I NEVER spring anything on him last minute and expect that he participate. (We have a 48 hour rule – if I don’t give him 48 hours notice? He is free to tell me no without any questions asked.)
3. Be ok going alone. (And don’t feel guilty about it!) It’s hard to show up at a party or event alone. Especially when it’s nothing but married couples. And knowing you’re having fun, while your spouse is at home alone. But sometimes? This is the best compromise we can make. If there’s an event that I really want to go to, but I know my husband would be uncomfortable? I am (finally, after much growth) totally ok with him skipping it.
*An additional option to #3 is that you drive separately! If there’s an event we both want to attend – but I know he’ll want to bow out before I am ready? We drive separate. And he leaves when he’s ready. (We luck out that we have the excuse that he works two jobs, so he’s almost always having to prep for work!)
Being married to someone with such a huge personality difference? It can be tough! But, with give and take on both parts? It’s definitely worth the compromise! I adore my husband, and try so hard to not get frustrated when I know he just doesn’t understand my need for social situations, but the compromise has been so worth it for us!