Shrink's Views

ramblings of an unknown psychiatrist

Marital Dyads: Likes Vs Opposites

Posted by Dheeraj Kattula on June 14, 2011

Statistically the ones at extremes are at the risk of being abnormal. At least they are worth studying, as they are definitely a different group compared to the rest. Marital dyads are as innumerable as the number of couples that exist. Let us take personalities of each individual in a dyad. In a random world there would be all sorts of combinations. Most people would share some aspects of personality with their spouse but would also differ equally in other aspects. A very few dyads would be absolutely identical or polar opposites. These special groups are worth looking at.

We could call the dyads in which the personalities of the couple are identical as mirrors. The partner in the mirror knows exactly what the other person likes because he likes it too. He does it and there is joy everywhere. What is disliked is disliked by both, so it would not figure in their lives. Mirror would be very happy.

The dyads in which the personalities are totally opposite, would understandably have friction. What is liked by someone for reasons arising from his/her personality could be disliked by the other person for very valid reasons. Even if the individuals alternate in decision making, one of them would be giving up every time. To avoid this giving up, they could choose to do their own thing independently. This would mean doing less stuff together. This could indicate a lesser quality in relationship. A level of unhappiness or decreased marital quality would be part and parcel of the marriage of opposites.

Is this the end of the story? Likes make happy couples and opposites only manage to pull on. In a hedonistic world, where pursuit of happiness is the ultimate thing, this could be true. One need not only be happy when his/her choice was THE choice. One could choose to be happy letting the other choose. Not that the choice induces happiness in him, but understanding that one is letting the spouse be happy with this, could induce happiness.

Sometimes choices are not simple. They could indicate different priorities, values and judgements. Here when one gives up, he/she gives up something more than a choice. It could be painful. Such adjustments have to be made for a marriage to remain healthy. That kind of giving up leads to maturity. This opportunity to grow in maturity does not occur in the mirrors. It is a consolation and positive externality in the marriage of the opposites.

A home with opposites covers  every perspective under the sun. As they relate to friends and society they can connect with a wide range of people because of their shared understanding. They can help people much more because of this. They would enjoy a much richer social life in this world. The mirrors on the other and would connect with their own kind. Their circle would reinforce their original behaviors. They may not change much in life. They can only enjoy life of a club.

An epicurean may feel that happiness is all that is needed. What is the benefit with maturity? Growing in maturity can be a reason for someone’s happiness. The idea that happiness is the measure of a person’s life is immature.

Whatever type your spouse is you have reasons to be happy. Don’t you?

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6 Responses to “Marital Dyads: Likes Vs Opposites”

  1. senthil said

    Hi da

    First congrats, I like ur blog and the way you narrate things.
    keep the good work going.

  2. Deepthi said

    Your scenario seems to differ from the famous statement “Opposites Attract”. In fact couples with different personalities can actually appreciate each other’s traits. Because as we know every personality has strengths and weakness. So what one lacks, the other can bridge it. I feel they become more complementary. Anyone who is mature would view it in that way because someone who is complementary to us can help us learn, heal, and grow.
    Your comparison of identical personalities as mirrors, forces me to vividly picture opposite personalities as mirror crackers!!
    You said “Likes make happy couples” and I want to add “Opposites let life happen”. Life will become skewed if there are many identical. We need opposites to pull the distribution to normalcy.
    My principle question is does “personality” determine your values, priorities and judgments?? I differ from that. I strongly believe environment, brought up and our beliefs influences our choices, values and judgment. They give us right perspectives and a heart to understand the other person. Affection, acceptance, appreciation, adjustment and being accommodative are keys to any happy family.

    • Dheeraj Kattula said

      Dear Deepthi,

      Thank you for your inputs. Thank you for brining the topic of attraction between members of dyad. I had not touched on that topic. You are absolutely right when you say that opposites can complement each other. I doubt it if all people can naturally appreciate strengths in others. If they could they would improve the quality of their marriages.
      I also like the picture of opposites being mirror crackers 🙂
      You are right in saying personality may not fully determine values, priorities and judgments. It is true that environment does play a role in determining that. Your last line is a punch line that I liked the most.

      Do keep coming back.

  3. suvarna said

    Hi Dheeraj,

    I do accept and agree with your opinions,but it s very difficult to follow -“One could choose to be happy letting the other choose”.Thanks for bringing some new angles to old problems…keep doing..

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