While our lesson this week put an emphasis on what initially sparks a relationship, my blog is going to dig a little deeper into what maintains a relationship. The basics I think we have all heard from the age of teenagers…opposites attract but so do similarities. For most relationships, I believe the attraction falls somewhere in the middle. It is a unfamiliar enough to create an interest, yet similar enough to make us comfortable. My story is a little more complicated.
I met my husband when I was 18, a little over 12 years ago, and while our initial attraction may be straight out of the psychology laws our journey has been nothing of the sort. The lesson states that the Myers-Brigg Typology Indicator scores indicate that people with similar personalities tend to get along well because they think, feel and act the same. When I was 18 I was shy, naive, and let’s just say a little straight arrow. My husband was the “bad-boy” from out of town that no one really knew much about. He was a risk, and after a lifetime (it seemed) of following the rules I was ready for a little rebounding. In this case, we are a prime example of the popular idea of “opposites attract.”
Let’s fast forward a few years through our roller-coaster relationship that now includes our son. We had been all over the map of attractions from the most passionate of thoughts to wanting to strangle each other. Our opposites for the most part were not attracting anymore, because the real-world kicks in and those little things I once found so exciting I now found to be immature and stupid. I am sure my husband will agree the same as my quiet and inexperienced self became more of a responsibility to him. At this point… I think we would have found comfort in a more similar relationship then we did with our alternate ends of the spectrum.
Ultimately, the fact that we were so different pushed us to the further sides of life experiences and we became so distant until we lived separate lives. My husband took a job on the road and basically came home only on holidays while I maintained as much of a normal life for our son at our home. Slowly, we relied less and less on each other for anything and discovered new attractions outside of our marriage. A very dangerous game to play! We were both craving for the similar-to-me effect.
My story does have a positive ending, as after a LOT of consideration and efforts we changed the direction of our story. My husband left his job on the road and we reestablished a relationship based on the people we had grown into, instead of who we were years ago. I believe the biggest aspect of relationships is keeping an attraction going, while understanding that what the attraction is might change over time. Initially we were attracted by our differences and then at some point we needed to look harder to find the similarities to maintain the attraction. I think there can be a mix of both!