Challenges in relationships are perpetual in 69% of cases, according to relationship expert John Gottman. The reason being that we are built in different ways, beyond just about being male and female.
The following article will show specific distinctions that might challenge you in your relationship. Think about each set of opposites as being located on a scale with one criteria on one end and the other on the other end of the spectrum.
Looking for similarities versus looking for differences
Certain people will filter the world by looking for ‘sameness’ whilst others are looking for ‘differences’. People who match for differences are also called ‘mismatchers’, which you will recognize as someone who would regularly say no to suggestions or offer the opposite point of view in discussions. A sameness person will attempt to match and agree with people. If you make a suggestion to your mismatching wife make sure to give her a choice between two options.
Screening and non-screening
This opposite has to do with your focus. A ‘screener’ will be able to get lost in an activity and no longer be able to listen to their partner. A ‘non-screener’ will be distracted by things going on in the environment, such as noises or other interferences. If you call your ‘screener’ husband to dinner and he’s not coming, go and touch him on his shoulder to make sure he’s able to take your information in. If you talk to your ‘non-screener’ wife make sure you get rid of all interferences, for example wait until the children are in bed, to have a deep and meaningful conversation.
Optimistic – pessimistic
This distinction is fairly well-known but are you aware how it can affect you and your partner? An extremely optimistic person will find it hard to deal with arguments or negative emotions. A pessimistic person will be good at looking at what might go wrong or what needs to be improved in a specific situation. In combination the optimist will see this as unnecessarily stressful and the pessimist will get annoyed with the optimist seeing things unrealistically.
If you recognize you and your partner are on the opposite side of the scales you can imagine the re-occurring challenges and frustrations you experience as a result. Remember that these distinctions are also dependent on the context; so it might be different if you are at home or at work so don’t oversimplify this.
The key to living with these differences is to work on accepting them, looking for the benefits that each partner can bring to the relationship and continuously communicate with each other about it.