We have all heard the phrase that “opposites attract, but they don’t last,” and maybe that is true– but it doesn’t have to be. If we could accept each other’s differences and appreciate our varying strengths, I think couples that can compensate for one another’s deficits may be the strongest pairs ever. In many of the healthy relationships that I have observed over time the women tend to be the ones that dominate at home– making sure the kids’ needs are met, that all social plans are confirmed, that the family sticks to a schedule, and that there is some order to family’s overall life. Meanwhile, their partners are much more laid back– having sometimes no sense of time, no preference as to having a plan or just staying home, and no apparent care as to whether the laundry is properly folded or not. It seems crazy, but maybe that is what provides balance to the overall family life?

Those of us with control tendencies may try to go too far if left unchecked– so maybe what actually makes the most sense is to fall for the easy-going, carefree types (obviously without going to an extreme). My son, my brother, and my father are all carefree spirits that can just roll with whatever happens– 3 generations of men with the same character, which is completely contrary to mine. You would think they drive me crazy, and yet they have actually taught me to calm down and laugh at myself. I realize I cannot change them, just as they probably are not going to change me much, so we accept each other as we are, enjoy our time together as much as possible, and permit one another space as needed.

The trick to peacefully cohabitating with your opposite is being able to communicate effectively in order to understand one another and resolve conflict. Dominant personalities that explode are never going to achieve the result they want with their opposites– the passive types will simply shutdown and avoid confrontation. This creates a vicious cycle that cannot last forever– eventually one will tire of this and take actions to make a change. To salvage a relationship at this point, the best option is to get professional help from a couple’s counselor before it is too late.