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Friday Discussion: Do Opposites Attract?

By November 5, 2010Culture, Funny, Marriage

This Friday discussion originates from a discussion we had in my community group meeting this week. Our topic was marriage and in almost every couple, the husband and wife were extremely different in how they approach situations. It wasn’t a strictly male/female discussion. The males and females were split on some of these issues. It was just that two people wired completely different had married one another. I do know from a counseling standpoint that these difference also cause conflict, but is it who we are attracted to…those that will naturally conflict with our personalities?

So today, share your opinion: Do opposites attract? Do they work to make the relationship stronger?

I’ve always heard that is true, although I don’t know if any research has been done to prove it or not. I see it a lot of it, but is it always true?

Are we attracted to people with different personalities from ours?  Do we want to marry someone who is going to naturally conflict with us?  I’m asking more than the male/female question…that one is natural.  I’m asking are you differently wired….one organized, the other not…one a planner, the other not…one high stressed, the other laid back…that kind of difference.  Perhaps one way to address this is to answer the question: Are you opposite from your spouse or loved one? What are things that drive you nuts about your partner, but may be the things that actually attracted you to him or her?

What do you think?

Share your thoughts with me and dialogue on this Friday discussion. I love reading your opinions.

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Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 35 Comments

  • Tami Heim says:

    Dale and I are opposite, but we share most of the same core values, put Christ first in our lives, and all the rest seems to fall into place. Our differences make a stronger and more complete. We love and respect each one of them. I believe that is why after almost 30 years of marriage (and 12 years of dating before that…) we've never fought or said an unkind thing to each other. God's grace, love, and respect brings it all together!

  • thegreatfish says:

    We are completely different. When we married 30 years ago, we agreed on church, correct doctrine and how to manage money. That is all. If we were both alike, we would be someone's case study. It works better to be different.

  • Gagejung says:

    Wow, thats a great question. In theory I think opposites make sense but in the real world, I think having very similar “everything” works too.

    Every relationship is different but having similarities strengthens a relationship. There is less friction and when life gets tough, the common traits help to glue together the bond in a relationship. I’ve seen both as a pastor, counseling couples, but I’ve seen better longer lasting relationships where the couples had more things incommon than less. Just my opinion from my experiences.

  • April Rowen says:

    Aw, such a good question. Coming from a divorced family, and being happily married for seven years, I've noticed that opposites attract, but don't stay together very well. It helps to both like a rainy day, both agree somewhat on politics and both enjoy a good book or movie. It is hard when there is constant disagreement.

    There is peace in a marriage of like minds – you don't always have your spouse trying to invite somebody over when you want quiet, together time, or you aren't always picking up after them and getting irritated.

  • surrenderisfreedom says:

    Unfortunately i'm not always 'drawn' to her different approach lol, however patience has taught me to how to appreciate ways my wife is different. I think in the end, i married her partly because as a person she represents many opposite traits that are not true of me. Things i desire, admire and need in my life. I'm learning from her though and learning to love those opposite parts of her. Makes the relationship more interesting and challenging, in a good way most of the time. A spouse who was just like me would fail to push me and encourage me and sharpen me. I'm eager to grow and change so in that i'm probably drawn to opposites. Those people provide learning opportunities for me.

  • surrenderisfreedom says:

    I find myself drawn to people who are opposite in certain areas, but with close personal relationships I have typically seek out people 'like me'. I think my curiousity about what's 'different and unique' about someone opposite from me is the source of the attraction. I want to understand why they are different because i'm so used to my view and way of thinking. I got married 1.5yrs ago and have learned that my wife and I are very similar in many ways (ie- thinking, beliefs, desires, ambitions, convictions, activities enjoyed, interests). But our approach to issues, problems, and tasks in life is often very different.

  • @Bryankr

    I'm not married yet, but when I have relationships, I do tend to look for women that are "different" from me. I think my intention is like some have already voice, to off-set, or balance what I consider to be my shortcomings. Of course, I am still single, so I may be looking at these things the wrong way.

    • ronedmondson says:

      Sounds like a good plan to me. Obviously there is much more to consider, but as far as balancing your shortcomings, that sounds like a great goal.

  • My wife and I are very similar, which is nice. We like similar music, entertainment, both love to read, etc. If there was any difference, I'd have to say I am a bit more outgoing than she is. Plus, she's a saver. I'm a spender. She has kept us out of trouble for over 25 years now 🙂

    • ronedmondson says:

      I love the example of balancing in a spending sense. I see that with my wife and I too, even though we're both fairly conservative. One day she's a spender and I'm not. Next day the opposite. She is more outgoing than me though and that's very helpful in ministry.

  • I believe that opposites do attract, my wife and I are so different yet we definitely compliment each other. She makes up for areas that i am not so good at and also the other way around. And that's one of the benefits we need to recognize in a marriage/relationship.

  • Kevin R says:

    My wife and I took one of those temperament test (DISC, sanguine etc) and one day I decided to add the results together as if one person did the test, we came up 25% in all four categories. When we work together we a balanced. The key for me is to know my wife’s strengths and weaknesses and respect them. If it wasn’t for my wife I’d stay in my basement with my computers with no interaction with the world and I keep my wife from doing too much and burning herself out. Life is GREAT!

  • @musicgirl77 says:

    I agree with Adam's "spin" on the words. I do see where some people it would be a difficult thing and cause alot of conflict. But I think with people that have God in the midst of the marriage, its more of a complementary thing creating balance. I think core values are important to be similar but HOW we approach life, its refreshing to not be saddled with someone thats just like me!

  • In my wife and I's case…yes…

    She is organized…I'm not always…
    She is a city girl…country boy…
    She hates sports…I love them…
    She is an extrovert…I'm an introvert at heart…

    We laugh all the time because of how different we are, but I can promise you our love is strong.

  • Jon says:

    My wife and I are so much alike in some areas, but different in others. For "important" things like religion and politics and raising the kids we agree on most things. She is more extroverted than I, although not terribly so. As in @Wingnut's case above, we tend to balance each other in crises where she can be strong when I feel like I am failing and vice-versa.

    One area where we are a lot alike, unfortunately, is not talking about and dealing with things that are bothering us about the other person. This has led to all of the pain in our marriage. Still it's a process and God is still processing us both. If we can get this resolved, I'd like to see us more in tune with each other and more willing to be salt and light to each other which would probably highlight the differences, which, in this case, would be a good thing.

    • Jon says:

      I went back and was rereading the "question" and I thought back over my life and I realize that most of the male-female relationships that I've had are with women who are really kind of opposite of me. I meet them because we are drawn together by some activity where we have common ground. We get together because of some attraction, but I think in the end we break up because of too many differences. Still, most of the time the relationship is really good; it just wasn't meant to last. I also remember one short-lived relationship with a woman who was probably really a lot like me; never really got off the ground…hmmm..

    • ronedmondson says:

      My wife and I share many similarities also. But we are different in many also. It makes us better and stronger though

  • Adam_S says:

    I think the key is complementary not opposite. When we are too far apart I think it becomes about conflict. But we all need others to balance out our weaknesses.

    • ronedmondson says:

      Good spin on those words. I think many times that is true if a couple uses the differences for that purpose. Thanks

    • Adam nailed it. That's exactly what I was going to say. I think there is a certain allure to someone who is opposite but ultimately it will cause conflict.

      Someone that compliments you is not necessarily your opposite, but like Adam said, will strengthen your weaknesses and vice versa.

  • The Wingnut says:

    I've always been an introvert, and that is part of what drew me to my wife: She isn't.

    We are opposites in many ways, and it does get contentious. I have lost count of the times we have both thought or said, "Why are we together? We are SO different!"

    Not to sound cheesy and smarmy, but she is strong when I am weak, and I am strong where she is weak.

    She gets stressed and overwhelmed easily, and I need to calm her down.
    I procrastinate badly, and need her to constantly remind me what needs doing.
    I avoid confrontation, and she is showing me how to not be a pushover.

    We may be opposites, and that may cause conflict sometimes. But we love and need each other, and we both know it.