When the Social Butterfly Marries the Social Cocoon
- 2011 11 Jan
Editor's Note: This article is the fourth in a series of articles by Kym Wright on marriage's "little kindnesses."
Opposites do attract. Magnets, male and female, and personalities. The yin and the yang. Filling in the void places of the other.
Yet, with magnets, there is nothing more to the attraction. They pull towards each other, then their relationship is over. For humans, it’s just begun. And thus provides the angst of our dilemma: two who feel so strongly about each other, but who have many repelling traits.
My Spouse is an introvert. On a scale of 1-10 is he pretty much a 7 (or an 8) in the introvert arena. He loves his home and being there. It’s his castle. His domain. And his refuge. In business, he talks, he leads, he makes great decisions for the company. But, without the world watching, he would rather be at home, or with his family.
And I love it . . . most of the time. Except when my outgoing nature wants some “people time.”
In our readings and living, we have found that there are many ways to handle the introvert/extrovert situation in a marriage, or in any relationship.
At parties, if Spouse attends with me, I introduce him around, help him get engaged in a conversation one-on-one with someone. Then I go talk to everyone else! I make the rounds and greet each person, each couple, the host and hostess, and have an absolutely wonderful time. And so does he, with his new friend.
When I was involved in the political arena, and social situations were when my position kicked in, many times I didn’t have the time to be with Spouse in any way, until the event was over. My position demanded my attention to the people, the guests, the contributors, those who would hold the next fund-raiser. So, he had choices before him: go “nearly stag” and either talk with others or watch the goings-on. Or he could opt not to come. Either and both were fine with us, as a couple. We knew the reasons behind the decision, and made it work.
Church and Sunday School classes can produce similar options: do we go for the small, intimate size or choose a larger setting? Are we looking to get to know a few people well? Or do we prefer the space of a bigger group?
Even the type of setting you choose for your vacation can be viewed through the lens of whether you are highly social or more of a me-and-mine introvert.
About ten years ago, Spouse and I were celebrating our twentieth anniversary by visiting Amish Country. The quilts, the horse-and-buggy travel, and the simple lifestyle attract us, and I enjoy reading and studying their foundation and culture. So we road-tripped to Amish Land. On the way, we had reservations for a New England Bed and Breakfast.
There was a chill in the air, which seemed to spill over into the dining atmosphere. Being very pro-life Christians, we were surprised when the conversation around the table turned to abortion, and we were the odd-men-out. Our views, though we shared very little, were not the norm, nor anywhere near it. Though Spouse is easily conversant on his views, he didn’t appreciate his vacation turning into a debate or conflict. We realized that sometimes, B&B’s are too intimate of a setting for him, and giving him a layer of distance and anonymity would help him have a better vacation. When we choose B&B’s, we ask to dine alone, or find alternatives. Experience has given us a bit of wisdom.
Then there are times when I love to be with crowds of people. Controlled crowds. Not a large stadium, but elegance in entertaining. While living in Atlanta, we enjoyed the offerings of the Fox Theatre. Set in downtown Atlanta, its rich heritage shows in the golden decor and yards of elaborate fabric used for the draperies, stage curtains, and richly trimmed panels hung at the sides of entries. Built in the 1920’s it was converted to a theatre to save its future. And I enjoyed visiting The Fox, as much for its beauty as for the Broadway-quality shows. Movies, theatrical productions, musicals – I love them all. And Spouse loves being with me. So, sometimes we attend The Fox together.
But, there are times when he would rather have some solitude: intense workdays, leftover assignments. When these times come, I might take some of our children to enjoy the show with me. Or I go with friends. There is no angst about us having to be there together, nor never going as a couple. We make decisions together, acknowledging our different social desires, and find satisfactory ways to meet them.
As opposites, there are compromises we can make which will satisfy both members of the couple. The best way to find these solutions is to be honest about our own personality needs and communicate our desires.
In John 10:10 Jesus tells us that He came to give us life more abundant! And our marriage’s social life can be just that when we discuss and choose what works best for the individuals and for the couple as a whole.
Posted April 16, 2009
After 30 years of marriage, Mark & Kym Wright have eight children, and a semblance of a social life, which is hard when you are a writer. You can visit her website at: http://www.KymWright.com Her online publication is The Mother’s Heart magazine, for wives and mothers with hearts in their homes.