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….
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!