The personality differences and characteristics that exist between each other are recognized and appreciated rather than criticized or seen as a threat.
Have you ever noticed that we humans are usually drawn to people who are most like ourselves? We are naturally more comfortable with other people whose characteristics are similar to our own and who act, think, feel and respond to life in ways that we ourselves do. I suppose there is more than a bit of truth in the Greek mythology where Narcissus, who saw his reflection in a pool of water, immediately fell in love with himself. While not always the case, often when we see another person who is a reflection of ourselves, we are drawn to them.
And so it can be in our marriage relationships, that we are drawn to, and most in love with those characteristics in our spouse that are most similar to how we see ourselves..
In healthy marriages the differences are celebrated rather than criticized. And this is possible because those differences are not seen as a threat, but rather, as differences that can help “grow” an exciting and more fulfilling relationship. Although those differences may at times create tension and difficult times of working through conflict, in the long run both recognize the value that is found in being married to someone who is their own person and not always just like they themselves are.
So the key to accomplishing this in our marriage is to see the differences that exist between our spouse and ourselves as challenges to grow by, rather than as threats to ourselves or to our relationship.
Ed Wimberly, Ph.D.