My Introversion, His Extroversion


There once was a girl who loved to be alone…and silence.  She loved to have deep conversations with a small circle of friends and discuss the deep things of life.  She liked reading books while sitting in window seats, and perusing a store (one store) for hours, and all things orderly.   And quiet…did I mention quiet? 

One day she met this boy, whom she liked very much, but he liked large groups and being loud.  He was friends with EVERYONE and had an extreme desire to be with all those people at once.  And there was nothing orderly about him, he had a million ideas all at once with plans to execute every one of them.  Did I mention he was loud…there was nothing quiet about him. 

Are you getting the picture I’m painting yet?  This is my life.  My introversion, his extroversion, our struggles and triumphs.

I always knew that I was an introvert but have always been attracted to the qualities of an extrovert.  I like their confidence, their ability and ease to talk about anything with anyone, their swagger. But I had no idea how difficult it would be to be married to an extrovert to the tenth degree.

Let’s talk about….

Noise Control:

I like things quiet and sometimes noiseless altogether.  Being a stay at home mom you all know that this is a challenge to say the least.  With two rambunctious boys bouncing off my walls quiet is not something I get very frequently.  When my husband comes home from work there is a desire to talk to another adult for sure, but what I desperately want is a quiet break.  It sounds funny but I want to just sit in a dark closet for like 10 minutes, reboot my brain, and then I’m good.  He gives me 5-10 minutes of quiet time and its game on.




This is probably the biggest struggle for my husband and me.  Michael loves to talk about everything out loud…he’s what you call an “external processor”There’s nary an idea that doesn’t pass his lips.  This is NOT bad…just different.  It’s taken me a long time to be able to say that and mean it.  We’ve had to work through the difference between “ideas” and “plans” because when we first got married I thought that every idea out of his mouth was something we were going to absolutely do.  Not so!  As an external processor he just loves to talk ideas, and dreams, and such.  It’s part of his makeup.  I’ve learned to let him talk about all of his ideas as much as he needs. But if he pulls out the checkbook then we’ve moved into “plan” mode and I better get ready to contribute to the conversation.  Haha!

My makeup is very different.  I’m an “internal processor”…big surprise huh?  For me that means everything I take in needs to be mulled over, chewed on mentally, and carefully thought through before a response can be formulated.  Then and only then can I contribute to the conversation…sometimes the conversation has ended and it’s the next day.  This characteristic has not benefitted us well when arguing.  In an effort to not let the sun go down on our anger my husband has been known to feverishly try to get me to respond (and wrap things up) before I’m ready.  What he’s learned, however, is that if you give me the time to sort through ideas or topics or arguments then we’re both better off for it.



Welcome to the Commune…

“The more the merrier!” is one of my husband’s mottos I believe.  I don’t know if it’s because he grew up with so much family around, or maybe it’s a cultural thing, or maybe it’s just straight up his personality (or all of it together) but there are NEVER too many people for him.  He thrives on the energy of others…not in a bad energy sucker kind of way…he just comes alive with other people around.  It doesn’t matter who, he can be best friends with them or have just met them on the plane, if they’re up for conversation he’s game as well.

For me, I’ve had to learn to enjoy large gatherings.  I’m proud to say that I can hold my own (although feebly) at a party with a bunch of strangers for the sake of my husband.

My motto is something more along the lines of “Party of 1!”.  I love solitude…I even love the word.  When I’m alone and I don’t have to talk to anyone I’m at my best.  Of course I love being with people, please don’t misunderstand me.  It’s just that the refreshment that comes with solitude is worth more than you can imagine.  When he gives me some time to myself that equals a more excited and energetic wife!



Can any of you relate to this introvert / extrovert dynamic in your relationships?  It’s not easy for sure but it can be done.  What kind of things have you learned about yourselves and your partners?


  1. Shannon- such a great post and SO what I remember about Michael. I think the Lord knew exactly what he was doing when he gave him you, the quiet processor who needs time to yourself. Can you imagine if you were as extroverted as he is – can’t imagine the “trouble” you’d get yourselves into 🙂

    • Thanks Libby! I certainly could never have chosen Michael by myself. And I agree, if we were both extroverts we’d probably drive each other nuts and run each other into the ground.

  2. Oh girl! You have no idea how much I relate to this! I think it’s why we became instant friends so long ago. We are still figuring it out to after almost 10 years of marriage. It does get easier but takes lots of work. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jenny…I know, Michael and Jim are cut from the same cloth. And you’re right it does get easier but overall still is a lot of work.

  3. Oh yes, spot on, especially the verbal processing. My husband has never met a stranger, answers the phone when it rings (I screen 99% of my calls and call back when ready) and talks through millions of ideas. At the end of the day I too need a quiet break where no one needs me!

    • Elissa…that whole phone calling thing…YES! If he gets a call he doesn’t recognize that he’s missed he will actually call back and say his name and ask who called. I would rather crawl under a rock. Haha!

      • SAME! I’m relieved when someone doesn’t answer my call so I can leave a message. Sometimes he tries to get me to answer his phone if it rings and he can’t get to it!

  4. YESYESYES! I can SO relate to this! I am the extrovert in our relationship and it has taken us years to reach a point where we “get” each other and know how to make space for each other. It takes a lot of work, intention, and flexibility to make introvert-extrovert relationships work.

    • Shauna, I agree a lot of work and you do need to be very intentional. It’s funny because my husband is always surprised when I come back from some time away at how excited and energetic I am. Even after 8 years he still finds it amazing that solitude can bring that kind of energy out of me.

  5. Shannon,

    What a great post. It’s the same in my house except I am the extrovert. It’s hard to find a balance . . . we are still working on figuring it all out. I would much rather be out doing things with other people than sitting around the house. I do need SOME alone time – but that’s hard when you kids.

    Great post!

    • Thanks Stacie! We’ve been at it for 8 years and things come and go, we have our crazy social times and then some quiet times…some! But we’re still learning.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here