The saying goes that opposites attract. Therefore, your introverted spouse is likely very different from you, which is why sometimes, it’s challenging for an extrovert to live with an introvert. We tend to think our spouses respond and communicate like us, have the same preferences, and show and interpret love the same way we do. However, that’s not always the case. Here are some tips on how you can show love to your introverted spouse.
Let them talk.
In today’s working world, time is money. However, in your relationship with an introvert, time is love. Giving them time to emotionally and mentally process matters equates to showing them love through endurance. The first line of the often-quoted biblical description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4 reminds us that love is patient and kind. Be patient by allowing them to take more time than seems reasonable to you for them to give an explanation, answer a question, or reply to something you’ve said, whether it’s life-changing or trivial.
Don’t interpret their delayed response or silence as a personal dismissal of you. Instead, give them time. By lowering your expectations surrounding the speed of a reply, you’re showing your spouse that their need is just as essential as your perceived need for an immediate response. Let your spouse talk, and you’ll be showing them love.
Know that their expectations and needs differ from yours.
Rebecca, who’s been married for seven years, said her introverted husband needs downtime, whether that’s winding down at the end of the day and watching his favorite show or on the weekend making sure he can do something for himself, something he enjoys whether it’s with her or by himself. He especially needs quiet time. She also learned not to expect that they’ll talk through everything he’s feeling at every given moment.
For example, he might be acting a little quiet, and she would ask, ‘Are you okay? What’s wrong? Do you want to talk about it?’ profusely, when in reality, he’s just processing things. Giving your spouse the right to speak or stay silent when they’re ready is another way you can love your introverted spouse. Realizing their needs are just as valuable as yours goes a long way.
Respect their dislike of crowds.
No one likes chaos, but your introverted spouse may have a different definition of chaos than you do. For example, you might love the idea of a late-night weekend party, but that might summon up images of the chamber of horrors for your spouse. What gives you energy may feel chaotic to an introvert. So, acknowledge your spouse when it comes to a bustling, crowded restaurant, an excessive amount of talking from one person, or a party held in their honor where they’re expected to be “on” for most of the evening.
Never assume that your introverted spouse will love being around the people they love in a surprise party held in their honor. What rocks your boat may sink theirs. Extroverts are energized in social settings, but introverts typically run from them or hide out somewhere quiet so they can attend but not fully participate. Communication is critical in planning social events, so always check in with your spouse to ensure they have the capacity to handle a big social event. Emily, who’s been married to an introvert for four years, said everything in life comes with give and take.
She understands that she can’t always have her way, and her husband can’t have his way all the time. So, they communicate compromises based on importance. He can’t pass up some gatherings, even though he might want to, due to their importance to Emily and their families. However, she’s also compromised that she’s free to go to events that aren’t high on the priorities list on her own or not go at all to spend time with him.
At the end of the day, the only person who should matter to you more than God is your spouse and vice versa. You chose each other to be partners, confidants, and friends. If that isn’t a priority, happiness won’t exist, and resentment can build up. Consider giving your spouse a hall pass a couple of times a year, especially if they’re prone to social interaction overload. During a hectic social month or around the holidays, one less gathering will be received by them as a gift of love.
Learn their love language.
Some people are external processors who are verbal in their communication, so they tend to use an excessive amount of words to the point that they forget their spouse doesn’t love talking as much as they do. Just because you feel loved when you spend time in conversation with your spouse doesn’t mean that he shows love the same way. For example, he may feel loved when you empty the dishwasher, iron his shirts, and help keep the garage clean.
He may feel loved by words when they’re respectful and affirming, not because of the sheer quantity of them. Learn your spouse’s love language by asking them what makes them feel the most connected to you and the most loved by you. Then, lean into that and pour it on.
Don’t try to change them.
You can gain a new perspective for the introvert you married by learning more about introverts. This unique group is neither applauded nor recognized for their skill set or personality type in our society. Many of them have to work harder to do what comes naturally for extroverts, like leading focus groups or making public presentations. Realizing the beautiful traits that introverts have helps you respect, appreciate, and give more affirmation to your introverted spouse. It can also help you understand how your strengths and weaknesses complete each other.
Ask your introverted spouse about the main ways you misunderstand them or try to change them and what the top three things you can do to show them love regularly. You may be surprised by what you learn. We all know that opposites attract, but learning more about introverts may help you love and understand your introverted spouse more than you already do.