The more I coach couples the more I realize how true this old saying is, opposite truly do attract. Perhaps that is creations way of filling the gaps?
I recently saw an awesome couple, they got engaged a few weeks ago and is ready for married life, or so they think.
Let’s call them Harry and Sally for the sake of their privacy. :)
Harry loves people, he can chat for hours to anyone who comes along and is a great listener. Love sharing his ideas and in general just loves celebrating life.
Harry’s Strengths are – Ideation, Strategic, Positivity, Woo, and Individualization.
Now Sally on the other hand is completely different, the exact opposite in fact. She loves to study, she is extremely responsible, neat and in general quite a busy person. You know, because things need to get done, and she gets them done. Yesterday.
Sally’s Strengths are– Achiever, Discipline, Harmony, Responsibility, and Learner
Got to love those stereotypical gender roles…
Because of Sally’s culture and upbringing, she feels Harry needs to be the do-er, the organiser and that he needs to take care of everything that (in her mind) is ‘manly’. She feels that he needs to take charge and organize their life to the finest detail. Now, just to add some context, this is the type of person her father was and so she projects this strong image of her dad on Harry.
Cultural gender roles are not always a good starting point. It tends to, more often than not, screw us in relationships.
The catch with these two is that they are almost the exact opposite to what culture expects them to be.
And that is fine.
If you look at her strengths, she is the one who can plan a trip in detail. She can book the accommodation, map out the stops where they need to refuel, pack food for the road trip and the holiday.
She can plan the “to do” list on the holiday. Lists and lists of to do’s before, during and after the holiday. She loves this. This is when Sally comes into her own and feels alive.
But just because of her culture, she may not do them because she is the female. This is not her role.
And that is just profoundly stupid.
Poor Harry is also uncomfortable in the role he needs to play as man in his culture. He is the one in the partnership who loves to listen, going on new adventures, exploring the FUN side of life while meeting new faces and collecting new friends on Facebook. He is always packed and ready for the lighter side of life.
Be Yourself in your relationship.
So in the couple coaching I could explore these things with them, and in the end it is so simple, it all has to do with expectations.
Expectations based on prescribed roles can be disastrous for some relationships. One can expect the other to be a certain way, which they just can’t. They might try for a little while, but eventually they’ll need to get out.
In the words of the Genie to Aladdin ‘Just be yourself, kid.’
Live your strengths
Being yourself, living your strengths in a relationship is extremely important. It will leave you with less stress, and allow you to be happier.
In Harry and Sally’s case, all they need to do is switch.
So, don’t pay too much attention to what society expects, or your mother-in-law, rather just be yourself, you will make yourself happy, your partner much happier (this is the reason they like you in the first place), and you will be a gift to the world. And rather expect your partner to be themselves, than expecting them to be someone else.
Live a Strengths Based life.
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