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Diffusing the Tension

Momming, mental health, fitness, all of the things

How I stay married to my total opposite– and you can too

marriage, priest, mawwiage, princess bride

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

Jen

  • Introvert
  • Bookworm
  • Bipolar as hellllllll (read that like Jean Ralphio)
  • Shy
  • Sensitive
  • Loves sappy songs, books, and movies

Ken

  • Not necessarily 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
  • Mentally normal, by and large
  • He is the life of the party
  • Very logical, and not cold, but doesn’t think with his heart
  • NOT sappy

Someone might look at this list, and think, “There’s no way these people like each other.” Yes, there are the occasional moments where I am looking for the nearest bus to push him in front of. But mostly? We are happy, and make it work.  Why?

Compromise

I feel like good old fashioned compromise is a still too-often overlooked skill in modern relationships. 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 yo bedroom.  And not in a fun exciting way, either. We are losing the art of meeting each other in the middle.

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?

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 relationship. (We ogle other attractive people without judgment because we’re human beings!)

What word do you feel defines your partnership? What word do you feel like could use a little work?

 

Have a question or topic you would like to see featured, but don’t feel comfortable putting it in the comments? Email me at: diffusingthetensionblog@gmail.com and I will feature you anonymously, and email you back letting you know when to expect to see it!

 

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