BLOG: Be Delighted By Your Differences: How to Identify & Leverage Your Differences for Relationship Synergy
You’re Just Different (And That’s a Good Thing!)
You and your beloved are NOT the same. You each have had your own personalities, past experiences, upbringing etc. that significantly impact your filters, triggers, preferences and the general lenses you see life with.
Your habits, ways of communicating, learning, stretching and coming together can look quite a bit different from those of your beloved.
Those differences will most likely clash. They commonly create distance or conflict, waste your energy and distract you from creating what you both want - UNLESS you…
- Are AWARE of your own and your beloved’s patterns.
- Get curious to better understand and APPRECIATE your differences.
- Intentionally use your differences to your ADVANTAGE.
Don’t expect your beloved to think or act more like you do. They’re NOT you! You’re just different - and that’s a good thing!
"The magic of a relationship lies in the ability to celebrate and appreciate the ways in which we complement and balance each other." - Emma Watson
Annoyance or Asset?
Yes, opposites attract, so it’s inevitable you’ll discover traits or habits that are quite different from you and yes, at times are totally irritating too. These differences can either become barriers OR they can build synergy between you.
All those differences in personality, preferences, and approaches can make your day-to-day experience excruciating OR they can bring new levels of joy and vibrancy to your life.
Your differences have genius in them and they offer balance that can make love and life A LOT more enjoyable. What may seem like an annoyance, can actually be an asset!
Your differences can be like oil and water OR they can be like chocolate and peanut butter.
By appreciating and embracing each other's uniqueness, you can create an experience of self expression, support, creativity, synergy, and turn your hopes into realities.
You can accomplish so much more, with greater ease if you worked on your hurdles and your hopes as a TEAM, honoring that you each bring something different, yet valuable to each scenario.
If you want to not only resolve hurdles in your relationship, but also pursue what you both actually want most in love and life, then you’re going to need a more allied approach.
Unifying Your Uniqueness
Most of the time, when you do something together that honors BOTH your needs and unites both your perspectives, THAT ends up actually being waaaaaay better than what you could have created or experienced on your own.
There is an alchemy and perfection in what brought you together. Trust that and lean into it. Don’t just tolerate your differences, but actually embrace and even leverage them!
What you create together, uniting what is unique about EACH of you - that is a beautiful thing.
"Opposites attract, and together they create something beautiful, harmonious, and complete." - Unknown
Know Thyself (And Your Beloved)
The first part of transforming your annoying differences into empowering assets is understanding them. Understanding yourself and your partner is essential to appreciating and leveraging your differences.
AWARENESS of your own and your beloved’s patterns empowers you to escape any fish-in-water perspective so you can be intentional and proactive about how you will handle those dynamics.
The more you know about yourself, your thinking, your feelings and your needs AND those of your beloved, the better. Awareness is a foundational step to awesomeness!
Lean into Loving Better by exploring your own and each other’s inherited beliefs, personality traits and desired preferences. Create awareness around how you think, what soothes, motivates and inspires you as well as what stresses, triggers or stops you.
Exploring what your patterns are and how they might be impacting love and life builds connection, compassion and trust between you.
Consider the common differences listed below, but don’t stop there! Check out the quizzes and assessments at the bottom of this blog to find out more about yourself, your beloved and the dynamics between you.
"Like two puzzle pieces, we fit together perfectly, each one complementing the other's edges and completing the picture." - Unknown
Differences that Divide
If you’re struggling in any of the areas below, you’re not alone. It’s not you, your beloved or your relationship. Ending up annoyed about each other’s differences is just automatic. It is the default way that long term relationships tend to go. But YOU do not have to settle for that nasty norm!
Which of these following common differences trip you and your beloved up the most? (Pick your top 1-2 that impact you the most).
- Relaxed Introvert/ Active Extrovert: One of you recharges through solitude and is content with familiar surroundings and less stimulation, while the other gets energized in social situations, seeks activity and new experiences.
- Spender/Saver: One of you is inclined to spend more easily and the other tends to be more focused on saving and financial stability.
- Neat/Messy: One of you is more naturally tidy and organized, and the other is more comfortable with a bit of clutter.
- Early Bird/Night Owl: One of you is energized in the mornings and the other is just coming alive in the later hours of the day.
- Optimist/Pessimist: One of you tends to look mostly at the opportunity while the other focuses their attention on the potential pitfalls.
- Detail / Jist: One of you wants to do things as perfectly as possible while the other has a just-get-it-done approach.
- Can’t Get Enough / Could Go Without: One of you wants to get it on a lot and the other just isn’t that into physical intimacy.
Chocolate & Peanut Butter - Satisfying Synergy
Consider how these seemingly annoying differences can actually be an opportunity for super satisfying synergy SYNERGY, where the merging of each of your preferences leads to something BETTER than if either of you got “your way”.
Look for the union, balance and brilliance to turn what may seem like oil and water into chocolate and peanut butter instead!
From the top 1-2 common differences that you noted above, now look below at the list of benefits / synergy available in those differences. Look for your opportunity and path for creating “chocolate and peanut butter” in your marriage.
Relaxed Introvert/Active Extrovert:
- The introvert's inclination towards solo time and introspection invites the extrovert to slow down, stay home a bit, and look inside yourself. Their calm and grounded nature provides a stable foundation for the extrovert's adventurous and outgoing spirit. The introvert is a genius for creating spaciousness.
- The extroverts inclination towards people, events and new activities invites the extrovert to get out of their comfort zone, meet new people and try new things. The extrovert is a genius for creating excitement.
- Together, they navigate a variety of activities, finding a balance between stimulating experiences and adventures while also enjoying the comfort of calm, relaxing and familiar surroundings.
- The spender adds spontaneity, stirs up enjoyment and adventure in the present. They’re a genius at being in the moment.
- The saver encourages responsible money management and long-term financial stability for the future. They’re a genius at focusing on the future.
- Together they strike a healthy balance pairing financial security and goal setting with occasional indulgences and special splurges ensuring both a comfortable AND fulfilling lifestyle.
- The neat partner's tidying skills enhances efficiency, creates an organized environment, and offers peace of mind. They’re a genius at beauty and order.
- The messy partner adds creativity, flexibility and prevents the relationship from becoming too rigid, embracing a level of imperfection and adaptability. They’re a genius at just letting things be.
- Together they create a harmonious living space that balances tidiness and order with flexibility and individual expression.
Early Bird/Night Owl:
- The early bird's morning energy gets the day going and starts it with energy and focus. They’re a genius at starting the day strong.
- The night owl can finish off the day with bursts of productivity and creativity during late hours.
- Together, they harness their energy when it's at its peak and create a rhythm that complements each other's energy levels and work schedules taking turns managing tasks and supporting each other effectively throughout the entire day. They’re a genius at finishing the day strong.
- The optimist’s positivity lifts the pessimist’s spirits, expands possibilities and provides emotional support. They’re a genius at being positive.
- The pessimist's cautious nature supports the optimist in considering potential pitfalls or obstacles they may need to factor into their plans. They’re a genius at being practical.
- Together they expect the best, but are prepared for the worst. They approach life with enthusiasm and eagerness while also making informed decisions and navigating risks.
- The detail-oriented partner offers thoroughness, accuracy, structure, organization and careful consideration ensuring that nothing is overlooked and that tasks are completed to a high standard. They’re a genius at being precise.
- The partner with a "just-get-it-done" approach brings flexibility and promotes a streamlined approach. They focus on the big picture to avoid getting caught up in “unnecessary” details. They’re a genius at being efficient.
- Together, they balance attention to detail with a commitment to task completion, creating comprehensive, effective and harmonious outcomes.
Can’t Get Enough / Could Go Without:
- The partner with a more active libido deepens the relationship bond by initiating touch, encouraging intimate activities, introducing new experiences. Their enthusiasm and desire can help boost their partner's self-esteem too. They’re a genius at being seductive.
- The less sex-inclined beloved offers an opportunity for self-reflection about the meaning and importance of sex. They point to emotional connection and other forms of bonding, such as intellectual conversations, shared hobbies, and quality time together. They’re a genius at being
- Together they explore both physical as well as alternative forms of intimacy and connection, cultivating a bond that extends beyond physical intimacy alone.
Reframe these seemingly annoying differences into what they actually offer you and your relationship. You get the best of BOTH worlds! When you understand, appreciate and embrace each other's differences, a world of synergistic benefits arises!
Richer, Deeper, & More Vibrant
Just as colors blend to create a masterpiece, your unique qualities intertwine to form a love that is richer, deeper, and more vibrant. Instead of viewing your differences as obstacles, embrace them as the perfect puzzle pieces that fit together or bold colors that come together to create a more vibrant new color.
In a world where sameness is often celebrated, it's the differences that make your love story extraordinary.
Gaining facility with how you’re different AND considering how those differences can actually become advantages is a game-changing, pro-couple-move that creates an impact both immediately in your day to day lives and for the long term, year after year.
Do this together, on your own, or both! Bring play to it too. Be proactive.
- Option 1 - Explore your top 1-3 differences and what might be delightful:
- Identify your top 1-3 differences between you and your beloved. Which ones have the greatest negative impact that you’d like to shift?
- For each of those 1-3 you choose, ask yourself what do you know about yourself and your patterns and preferences in that area?
- For each of those 1-3 you choose, consider what do you know about your beloved’s patterns and preferences in that area?
- For each of those 1-3 you choose, describe what the synergy might be between what you each prefer. What would it look like if you BOTH had your needs met? Share this part with your beloved as an opportunity for the future.
- Select, write down and schedule reminders for any specific actions you will take based on what came up.
2. Option 2 - Get to know yourself and your beloved better:
- Take one or more of the assessments and quizzes listed below based on what you want to know more about in yourself.
- Reflect on the results. What did you discover?
- How does that impact your relationship?
- Share it with your beloved.
3. Option 3 - Check out the Masterclass & PLAYbook: Be Delighted By Your Differences
ACTION OPTION: Assessments & Quizzes
I’ve curated a selection of fun, free and quick assessments and quizzes for you. Pick the ones that YOU are attracted to. Share your results with your beloved and invite them to take the assessments that THEY are interested in. They do NOT have to be the same ones. The point is to engage in better understanding yourselves and each other.
- 5 Love Languages - Do you prefer touch, gifts, words of praise, quality time or acts of service? How important are each to you?
- Attachment Style - Are you more anxious, avoidant or secure in your relationship?
- Erotic Blueprint - Learn more about yourself and your beloved at the foundation of your sexual core.
- Financial Compatibility Quiz: Various financial institutions and personal finance websites offer quizzes that assess spending and saving habits, helping couples understand their financial compatibility and identify areas of potential conflict.
- The Clutter-Hoarding Scale: This scale, developed by psychologists, can help individuals and couples assess their comfort levels with clutter and organization. It provides a framework to understand each partner's preferences and find a balance that works for both.
- Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS): This self-report questionnaire measures positive and negative emotions, providing insights into one's general outlook and tendencies towards optimism or pessimism.
- DiSC profile can shed light on your preferred style and approach to detail-oriented tasks versus a more big-picture, results-focused approach.
- Personality Hacker - 20 min Learn how to make better decisions based on how your mind works.
- Myers-Briggs Assessment - Assess where you focus your attention, the way you take in information, how you make decisions, and how you deal with the world. (Sixteen Personalities is a great no-cost version of the Myers Briggs too).
- Strengths Finder Even though it has a professional slant to it, identifying my top 5 strengths showed me myself in a way I had not seen before that completely impacted our marriage. (You can also find a free version of the assessment at High5)
- Values Assessment: Helps you identify and clarify your personal values, which can contribute to finding meaning and purpose in life. One resource for this assessment is
Explore what resonates for YOU and your beloved. Don’t be afraid to do the assessments on your own if your beloved isn’t yet inspired. Do yours and share them and then see if they want to do theirs. Entice, don’t push!
NOTE: It's important to note that while these assessments can provide valuable insights, they are not definitive and should be used as a starting point for open and honest conversations. The goal is to create understanding, improve communication, and find ways to embrace and leverage these differences for a more satisfying relationship.
Your Ally in Aiming for Awesome,
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