On Sunday I linked to Oh No, I Married an Extrovert!, a great article by Lori Lowe talking about the differences between introverts and extroverts. As with most articles I have seen about this, it was written by an introvert. So being an extrovert, I thought I’d toss in my thoughts to try and give an even better understanding.
My son and my bride are both introverts. Either of them would be fine with going out to eat alone, or even going to a movie alone. Me? I would see both of those as torture! My son went to a fireworks show all alone – didn’t feel a need to be with someone, and didn’t look for folks he knew there. If I went alone (which is unlikely) I’d have made several new friends while I was there.
An extrovert needs contact with others. Not wants or likes, but needs. Without this, an extrovert is incomplete, bored, unhappy, or downright miserable. As Lori said, we can’t change our brain’s biology – this is how we are. No matter how much we understand our introverted spouse, and no matter how much we work to give them what they need, we still need interaction with others. Lori said “Resist the urge to separate your lives too much; we need to be involved in one another’s interests and friends—to be attentive, caring and interested” This is very important. If the introvert is not a part of the circle of friends the extrovert needs, there is a division – a division that could cause problems or temptations. The introvert does not have to be at every gathering the extrovert attends, and does not need to stay the entire time the extrovert stays, but some degree of contact and time together is vital.
If your bride is an extrovert, please don’t expect her to sit home quietly with you day after night after day. Please also don’t leave her to develop a social life completely apart from you. You are both going to have to give a bit, but you can make it work. What’s more, you will both be better people for it.