When You Married Your Opposite

Very often, the man I married (a.k.a. my annoyinghusband) drives me absolutely bonkers. And I do mean absolutely. But each time that I not-so-gently inform him of this detail, his response never fails to bring a smile.

Me: Eyes wide and gesturing wildly with my hands, “SERIOUSLY, YOU MAKE ME CRAZY!” 

Him: Cool and collected as always, gently smirking,”The feeling is mutual.”

And then we both laugh. And we move on.

Marriage research indicates couples that marry before the age of 25 tend to choose a mate who is their opposite, whereas couples who marry after age 25 are more likely to choose someone with similar characteristics. Can you guess where we fall? Those of you familiar with Myers-Briggs typology will appreciate (read: groan sympathetically at) the following letter designations in our marriage — ESFJ female and INTP male.

In short, we are bona fide OPPOSITES! And yet, somehow, we have managed to avoid strangling each other all these years.

Although marrying one’s opposite may seem like an insurmountable challenge at times, there is great potential for this to be an incredibly rewarding experience. I rejoice today that it is possible to allow the beauty of complementarity — where I am weak, he is strong, and vice verse — to refine our marriage over time. I’m convinced God uses the differences in our marriage to call out more Christ-like character in us both, and for this I’m grateful.

Just don’t try to tell me that when I’m frustrated, again, about the laundry strewn about the floor or the dishes piled high and smelly in the sink! 

In my more rational moments, however, it’s far easier to examine my attitude and hit the reset button. The truth is that my husband and I, like each married couple, have the potential to be a “power couple” by choosing to cultivate a level or respect and even appreciation for personality differences. This takes a willingness to pick and choose our battles, to discuss healthy boundaries and calmly address boundary crossings, and to ask God to teach us how to best love ourselves and each other. Drawing upon His grace and learning to practically apply it back and forth is key.

As is the choice to laugh, at times, and to move on!

For today:

rejoice in maturation

celebrate complementarity


Kelli Willard is a fellow therapist with me at Building Intimate Marriages.

Kelli enjoys journeying alongside individuals and couples seeking a more balanced lifestyle and deeper intimacy. She is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT) in the state of Georgia (GA LMFT #001359). Kelli holds a B.A. in Psychology from Agnes Scott College and a M.A. in Marriage & Family Therapy with a specialization in Christian Sex Therapy from Richmont Graduate University.

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