Opposites attract because God made us to be different - and that’s a good thing

Couples who marry must ultimately discover where one another stands on such potential “deal-breakers” as cultural worldview, having and raising children, managing finances, religious beliefs, even hygiene habits. All of those are important. Sometimes, what appears to be a mole hill can turn into a mountain.

When my siblings and I were small, we would get so excited when we received a visit from our Uncle Arthur and Aunt Minnie who traveled to see us occasionally from the big, big city of Houston, Texas.

Aunt Minnie was my grandmother’s sister, and Uncle Arthur was her faithful husband who clearly loved his “Snoop,” his term of endearment for his wife. Looking back, they were one of the few stable couples of my childhood and I’m grateful for their example.

We always enjoyed our time with them – we talked and laughed and relished the family time. But one of the distinctions that I vividly remember was the stark differences between those two, who were married for many years until Uncle Arthur passed in the 1980s.

Aunt Minnie was loud and bodacious, and Uncle Arthur was soft-spoken and didn’t talk a lot.

The biggest difference between the two that we could plainly see – Aunt Minnie had to be close to 6 feet tall and Uncle Arthur was about 5 feet 5 inches. But they clearly loved and respected each other and it showed. Their marriage worked until death did them part.

It has often been said that opposites attract, and it is very often true. But why is that?

That phrase is usually thrown out when a couple someone knows has clear differences, including appearing to be “mismatched" physically or behaviorally. It can be any number of things: food preferences, chattiness, style of dress, spending habits, the way a person drives, one’s sense of humor, and on and on.

I am a witness.

Vanessa and I are very different. When it comes to “company,” for instance, I truly believe that she would love to entertain seven days a week and still have energy to spare. She draws energy from people being around. For me, having company once a week is fine. Please don’t get me wrong. I LOVE people and treasure my friendships, but I also love living out that classic old Bill Withers song – Just the Two of Us.

Opposites can and do attract, but that pendulum can swing too far in the wrong direction. How many first dates don’t make it to second? The lack of mutual interests is the reason cited for “this just isn’t going to work.” So opposites can attract, but they can also repel.

When it comes to long-term relationship success, it comes down to mutual wants and needs. And chemistry matters.

At the end of the day, Vanessa and I have far more in common than we do differences. Number one – we have both genuinely embraced Jesus as Lord.

Everything falls underneath that sacred umbrella. It may sound like the right thing to say, the “Christian” thing to say, but there’s no question in my mind that our love for Christ has been our saving grace through thicks and thins, bumps and bruises, rights and wrongs, stubbed toes and hurt feelings.

Underneath our love for Jesus and one another, we have managed to work through so many differences over the years. We still do.

Couples who marry must ultimately discover where one another stands on such potential “deal-breakers” as cultural worldview, having and raising children, managing finances, religious beliefs, even hygiene habits. All of those are important. Sometimes, what appears to be a mole hill can turn into a mountain.

If you are looking for a mate, during the courtship process (and hopefully through pre-marital counseling), there is a great need to know your potential spouse’s DNA – what make him or her tick. No, you won’t know everything but you have to know enough to move forward or to pull back and give the relationship time. Chemistry isn’t always instantaneous and can’t be forced but it can develop if you’re willing to put in work.

Through honest conversation and discovery, you can also establish proof that your needs do overlap, and that you want many of the same things out of life. And you can discover that you have a heart to help your mate achieve those goals. Are there non-negotiables – certainly, and every individual has to define that for themselves.

But if you are going to successfully walk the matrimonial road, you are going to have to compromise at some point. On matters that are important and matters that are trivial in the grand scheme of things.

When we first met, Vanessa had a great affinity for Indian food. For me, the smells of those spices were pungent. I had no interest in touching the stuff. Fast-forward and today, give me some chicken tikka masala and some naan bread and I am good to go! I love Indian food!

A recent study published in the journal Developmental Psychology looked at data from almost 2,000 couples and findings strongly supported that opposites do tend to attract. The study found that sharing intimate thoughts and feelings appreciated by a partner are just as important for relationship success as having separate interests and being able to make decisions without worrying about the partner being upset.

In other words, having separate interests is a good thing, as long as both people in the relationship feel appreciated by each other and communicate well.

Bottom line – we are different, and that’s okay.

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus is a 1992 book written by John Gray that deals with the relationships between men and women. It struck a chord, selling more than 15 million copies.

Gray postulated that each sex is acclimated to its own planet's society and customs, but not to those of the other. One example is men's complaint that if they offer solutions to problems that women bring up in conversation, the women are not necessarily interested in solving those problems, but mainly want to talk about them.

There is another book that is the greatest relationship book ever written, the Holy Bible. In Genesis, men and women stand as the crowning achievement of God’s created order. In Genesis 1: 27 we read, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” God created the two genders, and He did it with purpose and intentionality.

We are different, and that’s just the way He intended it.

Opposites can and do attract, but we were all designed to embrace God’s calling on our lives, to make wise choices, and to represent Him in a world that desperately needs to see faith lived out loud.

Aunt Minnie and Uncle Arthur set the tone all those years ago. That’s the long and short of it.

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