They say that opposites attract.
And well, for my husband and I that is certainly true. I’m an outgoing, adventure-seeking kind of girl. I love being outside doing things like hiking, exploring, swimming, and hanging out with friends. My husband is the polar opposite. He’s quiet and introverted and prefers to spend his time playing video games or binge watching Netflix. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy those activities, too. But I’d rather be sitting outside on the porch talking to my neighbors, or visiting my parents (who practically live across the street from me).
The fact that my husband and I have different temperaments is not a bad thing. In many ways, we balance each other out because of our differences. However, our different personalities and interests can pose challenges. For example, my husband might seem annoyed that I would rather hang out with friends or be outside than spend time home. I’m not intentionally choosing to avoid him or exclude him in those moments. We just enjoy different things, and that can cause hurt feelings even if it wasn’t intended to.
But over Memorial Day weekend I realized that our differences give us an opportunity to really show each other love, in a particular way.
This realization began on a family hike in John Bryan State Park with my in-laws and my family of six. I’m not talking about camping gear and mountains, but a small and scenic national park easy enough for my four energetic children and I to explore.
In those few hours of hiking, my husband kept up and stayed tuned in to conversations. I know that his natural tendency is to pull back or exclude himself from conversation, but instead he made the effort to be present. He wasn’t complaining or upset with our children for being kids but was just enjoying the family togetherness. And I really enjoyed those few hours where we got along doing something that I really enjoyed, even though it wasn’t my husband’s first choice in activity.
Those are the moments I know that he loves me, when he steps out of his comfort zone. When he does things I enjoy, that shows me that he loves me because he’s making an effort to meet me at my level of need. He’s taking time to see me and bond with me over things the things I love. In those moments, it makes me love him even more. I crave that time together, because it reminds me that though we butt heads more often than not—we still love each other.
I can also love my husband back in the same way, by actively participating in the things he enjoys. Our latest time together has been playing the new stuff pack for The Sims 4. As we play our games we talk about the storyline and how things are planned out. I truly enjoy our time together even though it’s an interest that is mainly his.
What makes these times so special is that we are not nagging or begging each other to take interest in our activities or pushing each other to do things we don’t want to do. We do them because, despite our differences, we love each other and genuinely care for each other. Though we are polar opposites, we can make the decision to do things together. And for an adventure-loving extrovert like me, those moments of togetherness mean the world.