You often hear that opposites attract, and this is very true in my relationship with my husband Ben.
I admired his independence, while my passion for him and other people made him feel connected to the world. He was reserved about his feelings, I was very emotional. He was solid, while I felt fragile. Our differences complimented each other, and we quickly fell in love.
But the very personality traits that drew us together caused a few hardships early on in our marriage. I realized he was actually afraid of emotions because he didn’t know how to process or diffuse them. I felt just as lost because he wasn’t accustomed to sharing words of encouragement.
My past experiences had deeply affected my sense of self-worth, something my husband didn’t fully understand at the time. He was sometimes so emotionally distant it would reopen those old fears that I would lose the love of the people I cared about most. These insecurities and his inability to respond to them led to a lot of fighting.
There were days when we were ready to give up, but I’m not a quitter and neither is he. Ben learned how to help me navigate through my emotions by sitting and listening to the experiences from my past. He would hold me when it brought me to tears and remind me how those experiences made me the person I am. He made me proud to have come out stronger.
My vulnerability gave him the strength to let down his walls and be vulnerable too. He realized I would grow closer to him in his vulnerability just as he had grown closer to me. It took practice and perseverance, but we bonded through our challenges.
We’ve both changed a lot after nearly four years of marriage. We have learned to grow from our differences, rather than let them divide us. He learned the benefits of relying on and sharing his life with another person. I learned to stand on my own a little more. We still aren’t perfect, but our relationship is better than ever because we worked through the hardest times together.