We’ve all heard the old adage “opposites attract,” and many couples prove the truth of this statement. We are drawn to people who counter our weaknesses with their strengths, whose personalities complement ours in the best of ways.
Though dating your opposite is awesome on many levels, it’s also a significant challenge. The things that attract us in the beginning can annoy us as time wears on. Different priorities, interests, hobbies and habits force us to navigate the choppy waters of relationship conflict. But those who brave the differences of an opposite relationship often find it more fulfilling because of the challenge it holds.
My husband and I illustrate this well. According to the Myers-Briggs personality test, I am an ENTJ—and he is an ISFP. We don’t share any of the same “love languages.” We don’t like the same music, don’t have the same hobbies and, until recently (after five years together), thought we didn’t like the same sports. No two people could be more opposite, but God has proven that He is able to unite us where personality and interests fail to do so.
If you’re dating your opposite or looking to the future, here are five things to know about a relationship of this nature.
1. You’ll Probably Compromise on Dating Activities
When my husband and I attended premarital counseling, we had no problem discussing values and future plans. Where did the conflict emerge? Leisure activities. Neither of us liked what the other liked, and neither of us wanted to make bowling or shopping a regular date on the calendar.
Partners who are opposites have to learn to compromise on dating activities. We don’t get to do what we want all the time! This demands a level of selflessness our world doesn’t talk about. Most movies and books present “ideal” couples as people who have everything in common and can talk about things for hours. This leaves out the possibility of a relationship based on common values and the selfless willingness to take an interest in the other person—even when what they like isn’t up your alley.
Be ready to rotate dating activities if you share different views on fun.
2. You’ll Help Each Other Gain New Perspective
One of the best things about dating your opposite is the perspective it grants you. In my case, I get the perspective of an introverted, sensing “feeler”—someone who deeply cares about people and brings that to our marriage. My husband has learned (from me) to be more intuitive, to step out of his introvert comfort zone and think about life with a more long-term view.
Couples who are opposites teach each other new things every day. They may not look at each other and say “Me too!” every minute—they are too different for that—but they look at each other and see life through new eyes.
3. You Will Have Conflict
If you’re dating your opposite, prepare yourself for conflict—especially if you get married. When two opposite personalities collide, sparks will inevitably fly, whether now or later.
Many people view conflict as a bad thing, but it’s not! To the contrary, conflict handled in a godly manner leads to resolution, understanding and intimacy. By working through your differences together, you gain the aforementioned perspective and strengthen your relationship in the process.
4. You’ll Be Pushed Outside Your Comfort Zone
Dating your opposite pushes you outside your comfort zone. For example, I’m not big on trying new things. I don’t like to do things in public until I’m good at them (pride!), but my husband has no fear of looking silly while he learns something new. This means he’ll schedule outings that make me extremely uncomfortable—but in a way that strengthens my character.
Dating your opposite will do this. It will stretch you, challenge you and make you uncomfortable at times. So remember: Just because a relationship is occasionally uncomfortable (NOT abusive, ungodly or impure) doesn’t mean something is always wrong. Sometimes the discomfort is part of the growth process.
5. You’ll Grow as Individuals
Dating your opposite means both you and your boyfriend will grow—and not just as a couple. You’ll grow as individuals, too. Your new perspective and experiences will help you in your other relationships, and even if this one ends, you’ll benefit from what you learned as you move forward through life.
Is dating your opposite difficult? At times, yes! But it’s also totally worth it if you’re both focused on God and dedicated to working through your differences.