Opposites attract: It’s cliche for a reason. This reality launches some of the most passionate romances, but it can also lead to relationship drama. I learned this the hard way, but I’ve also learned that, when navigated correctly, this type of relationship can be the most rewarding.It’s exciting to discover the world from a completely new perspective. Puppy love takes over those first few months together, and even small quirks fascinate us.Our early romance bowled me over with its intensity. I’d never imagined falling so hard or so fast for somebody with a completely different approach to life. We held little in common, but we brought out the best in each other. Or so I thought.
Eventually, reality set in. The butterflies faded. Lovable quirks became annoying habits and I began to roll my eyes at the very traits I’d once adored.
At one time, I’d have never dreamed that anger could permeate our relationship. Somehow, I became the significant other I’d vowed to avoid — the one who argues about everything. This realization was devastating.
Relationships change, but they shouldn’t end merely because the initial rush of hormones wears off. Eventually, you need to acknowledge that successful relationships don’t just happen on their own — they take work. This concept saved our marriage.
Instead of clinging to my ego, I began to take ownership for my role in our relationship issues.
Despite everything, there was still so much love between us. I decided that the reward of a fulfilling relationship was more than worth the effort. Things began to change as we consciously observed our personal foibles and the triggers that set off our worst arguments.
More importantly, we realized that we couldn’t do it alone. We turned to some of the world’s best relationship books for advice: “The Five Love Languages” and “Love And Respect.” We also sought feedback from a spiritual coach.
Through our reading and coaching sessions, we learned how to live in the moment. We calmly assessed one another’s strengths and weaknesses, free of judgment. We replaced criticism with praise. In doing so, we recaptured the appreciation we’d lost along the way. We saw each other with fresh eyes, and mastered the art of acceptance and appreciation.
Today, we view ourselves as a team. It’s not always an easy mindset to maintain, but it makes all the difference.
The strongest teams consist of individuals with radically different strengths and weaknesses. The same is true of our relationship. We each bring something special to the table. Our complementary characteristics allow us to excel in this wonderful journey we call life.