As a Houston marriage counselor, I see lots of people who come in complaining that their significant other just doesn’t understand them. They are, in fact, polar opposites.

You’ve heard this story before, surely. One is a neat freak, the other a hoarder. One checks off items on a to-do list every day, while the other prefers to stroll along, taking frequent stops to smell the roses.

That all of this “opposite” behavior has led to friction and the couple needing relationship help is no surprise. But what probably would surprise those couples (and maybe you, too) is that we’re hardwired to seek out these differences in our potential mates. Moreover, it’s probably pretty good for us as human beings because living with these “opposites” forces us to modify our own behavior – if only slightly.

Houston Marriage Counselor: We Crave Different, Then Complain About It

Of course, it doesn’t really matter if our spouses are helping us to grow as human beings if they are also frustrating the heck out of us in the process. That’s where the relationship help I can provide comes in.

When we approach each other from diametrically opposed mindsets and behavior patterns, we tend to see what the other person is doing as “wrong,” and interact with them in a way that betrays those feelings. Either we make fun of and belittle their behavior as silly or cute, or we rail against them for acting in ways that strike us as lazy or irresponsible.

Not surprisingly, the typical reaction to being approached in such a manner is for our defenses to go up and for the person being “attacked” to fight back. This causes arguments, which escalate into fights as each person becomes more entrenched in their position, and no one wants to give even a little bit.

It’s All in the Approach, Says the Houston Marriage Counselor

All of this could be avoided if we just learned how to talk to each other better. Ask instead of demanding. Listen to why one person wants change while the other wants to stay the same. Compromise.

Of course, all of those things are a lot easier to say than do. If you and your partner are having difficulty living with your differences and finding ways to talk about them, try contacting the Houston marriage counselor for help.