by Lakeshia Momon
We all have heard the phrase, “Opposites Attract.”
If you're old enough to remember Paula Abdul's 1989-90 Pop Hit, “Opposites Attract”, you'll recall that the song sheds light into her and her beau's interesting dynamics. She boasts on the strength of their relationship, despite all the ways that their opposite personalities clash.
They can never seem to agree on anything--one takes things serious while the other takes things light. One is quiet and the other is loud. But with all the ways that they differ, they seem to somehow make it work.
It's true that opposites do seem to attract. My husband and I actually have one of those relationships. Although we have several things in common like our lifestyle, morals, desires, music & food tastes, etc., we are direct opposites from a personality standpoint. Myself being purely task oriented and my spouse being purely relationship and people-oriented. I'm high-tech while he is high-touch. I’m more structured and he is more spontaneous. I'm detailed and he is more brief.
The truth about us and many other relationships like ours is that most of us are drawn to one another because of being initially impressed with the other's strengths, which happened to be our own weaknesses. For example, my husband loved my creativity, organizational skills and ability to drive a vision. And I was attracted to his encouraging words, wisdom, excitement and ideas. The great thing is that in terms of a partnership or team, our opposite personalities are great for each other on paper. However, the difficulty comes when over time we stop looking at each other's strengths and start focusing instead on the each other's weaknesses. So, while we may start off attracting, we end up clashing.
What You'll Need to How to Succeed
In relationships like ours, and perhaps yours, in or to succeed as a couple, we must be intentional about not placing too much focus on our spouse's differences and weak areas. Stay in love with the things that drew you to them. Encourage them to live out of their strengths and gifts and be aware of their limitations. Establish a mentality that covers them where they may be weak because that's likely where you are strong! Don't expect for things that come easy to you to come easy to them. Even if they desperately desire to grow in areas, understand that it'll be a challenge and they need your support in their efforts to change, not your criticism.
I used to get so frustrated with my husband because of his lack of organization. His personality is very spontaneous, unplanned and can be very time wasting. I, on the other hand, am very planned, need preparation and love to make the most use of every minute of the day. Well, I've had to learn (and am still growing!) that instead of stressing about his lack of organization and begging him to change, I could just encourage and gently remind him to take a few minutes to use our calendar app or request a quick meeting for him to update me on things. And he does! WALAH! Now I don't have to be stressed about it.
See, it's not that he is being stubborn. Not only is he always happy to do so when reminded, he truly strives to accommodate me and grow in this area because he knows how I'm wired and how it affects me. It's just that it's not a natural behavior for him. I have to respect and understand that. I have to extend him grace. Overtime, he has started to use the app or update me without me even asking. It may not be ideal for my desires, but we learned early on that we can't make people change or become who we are, we have to be willing to bend, give and take a little.
This is marriage. Especially between opposites.
It means that sometimes we will have to loosen up our grip on some of our ideals and beliefs about what marriage should look like and how our spouse should be. Yes, in a perfect world, we'd both be the perfect spouse, being everything that our partner needs every minute of the day. But that's not reality and that's not how God designed humanity. He designed us to need one another. He designed us to love beyond the differences and hold hands despite the clashes.
There's one particular line in Opposites Attract that I think truly sums up how Paula and her beau made their relationship work and how we should be with our own.
Near the end of the song she reveals their secret sauce:
Don't think we'll ever, Get our differences patched
Don't really matter, Cuz we're perfectly matched.