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We’ve heard the saying many a time before but is it actually true?  Do opposites attract or this a recipe for an inevitable relationship breakup?

Sure, many great romance stories are based on two people from completely different backgrounds, of significantly different socio-economic statuses, who have very different ways of living, coming together to live happily ever after.  Like anything else, there are always the success stories as well as the disaster stories.

Of course, there are many other ways in which people can be classed as opposites, for example: extroverts vs. introverts; talkative vs. uncommunicative; confident vs. shy; go-getter vs. satisfied with current existence or unmotivated; outdoorsy vs. preferring dry, warm, indoor pursuits and adventures.

Do opposites attract and can they create a lasting relationship?

Yes, of course!  Sometimes opposites attract and sometimes similar people are attracted to one another.  They both have a great chance for survival but as husband and wife, or a couple, you need to understand that you need to work at your relationship, regardless.

Tip 1 – Celebrate Your Differences

It’s very exciting when you bring different ideas and personalities into your relationship.  It’s also incredibly useful because someone who thinks and behaves differently from you, will help you to overcome challenges you face as the person who thinks and behaves as you currently do.  We can all change our thoughts and behaviours, we’re in control after all, but having a different point of reference from someone we love, trust and respect, can massively help us to overcome our own self-imposed limits.

For example, when we worry about something, our partner can show us why we needn’t worry about it because of the alternate view they show us.  When we are struggling to overcome a barrier, our partner may know exactly what we need to do to overcome it.  If you are scared of heights, your partner’s lack of vertigo can mean that on days where you don’t feel up to challenging your phobia, you can get them to climb up the ladder to fix the light bulb or get into the loft.

So get excited about your differences and celebrate them rather than fearing them or arguing about them.

Tip 2 – Work To Your Strengths

If you are naturally great at something and your partner is particularly abysmal at it, then you can choose to be the one in charge of that particular area of your life together, e.g. finances.

If your partner is great at DIY and enjoys it, and you have no interest in it or are rubbish at it, your partner can take charge of this area of your life together, i.e. play to his/her strengths.

If you are both rubbish, mediocre or great at something, or both hate or love something, then you can both pitch in with combined effort.

As a couple, you are a team; as a team you need to play to your strengths.  Think of it as you two against the world.  How would you assign each relationship and life role if your existence depended on it?  Guess what; your relationship does depend on it and sometimes, so does your life!

You wouldn’t put the person who is rubbish at managing money in overall charge of your finances would you?  No, because you might be left with no roof over your head, no clothes on your back and no food in your stomach.  Your relationship would suffer under the stress of mismanaged money, too.  So many people suffer relationship problems that stem from money worries.

So play to your strengths whilst at the same time building strength in the areas in which you are both weak, e.g. money management, handling stress, achieving goals, etc.

Tip 3 – Bridge The Gap Between The Differences

Where possible and necessary for increased harmony within the marriage or relationship, bridge the gap between the differences that are creating a divide.  As previously mentioned, the differences can be a blessing, but in some instances they can be a recipe for discontent.

When the differences in your marriage or relationship are causing harm, first decide whether those differences can be celebrated rather than feared or fought against.  Secondly, see how you can design your shared life around these differences by playing to your strengths as a team.  If neither of these help to fully resolve your relationship problems that stem from these differences, see what you can do to bridge the gap.  By bridging the gap, the difference becomes less extreme, often making it easier to then successfully apply the principles of celebrating your differences and playing to your strengths.

For example, if one of you is very introverted and the other is very extraverted, you may be finding it difficult to satisfy both of your social needs.  One may favour staying at home and not meeting many people whilst the other may need to meet new people and undertake social activities on a frequent basis.  Here are a few solutions to bridge this gap between each partner’s personal needs:

  1. Rely on yourself to fulfil your sociable needs, don’t just rely on your partner; it’s not their sole responsibility.
  2. Find a middle ground.  Relationships are about compromising.  If one of you wants to do something sociable together (outside the house) every week and the other every three months, then agreeing to do so once a month can be a reasonable middle ground for you both.
  3. If one or both of you need to learn new skills that can help bridge the gap, e.g. overcoming social phobias or being able to enjoy one’s own company at home, then take the necessary steps to do so.  Self-growth should take place throughout your lifetime.
  4. Remember that every person is different so focus on what your partner does bring into the relationship that you really appreciate.  That way you’re focused on the positives, too, giving you a more balanced rather than disproportionately bleak view.
  5. Accept that nobody has a partner that is their 100% ideal partner because we don’t live in our ideal world, we live in the real world.

So remember, celebrate your differences, play to your strengths and find a middle ground that you can both reach and makes you both happy.  After all, a happy partner, makes for a happy relationship and these in turn will make you happy, and will create a happy life for both of you.

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