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Mending Differences

There are feelers and thinkers in a marriage. The feeler lives in emotion first and analyzes later. The thinker lives in the world of logic and sees relationship through a filter. Often the feeler is perceived as childish and the thinker as a grownup. But that is not accurate. Feelers can also be mature, highly responsible adults who simply have an emotional nature. They often sense things in a relationship far sooner than the thinker.

There are extroverts and introverts. The extrovert draws energy and life from lots of people. The introvert, in contrast gravitates toward solitude and fewer people.

There are active types and reflective types in couples. Some people are into aggression and initiative, while others are quieter and would rather relax. The active spouse learns how to relax, while the reflective one learns the value of taking a few risks.

Nurturing each other includes encouraging, appreciating, and connecting with each other’s differences. This kind of connection is never boring. Even more than that, your spouse will feel great value, love, and understanding from you. A large part of empathy comes from connecting with differences. When you support the individual styles and preferences of your spouse, they will truly feel that you know them for who they are. This is the opposite of feeling criticized, put down, or shamed for simply being yourself.

So be aware of the tendency to make your own opinion a moral issue, rather than an apples-verses-oranges preference. There is no one “right-way” between feelers and thinkers, extroverts and introverts, or active and reflective types. There are certainly right and wrong behaviors in marriages. As a couple, do not tolerate moralizing the styles of either of you, but move toward accommodating them. Stay open, appreciative, and protective of your spouse’s individuality. (A few word changes by me with Rescuing Your Love Life, pp.88, 89)

More to come.


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