“Are you looking forward to going to the party?” I asked in the car, on our way there.
“No,” Ray replied, “but you know that I’d always rather stick with my routines, and be home watching a movie.”
“If I die before you do, you’ll be a hermit, just getting together for coffee with friends at Stork’s.”
“Well, that’s doing something,” Ray replied. “If I die before you, you’ll say ‘yes’ to every invitation and then wish you hadn’t.”
“But, I’ll always be glad I went,” I said.
As is always true for us, once we got to the party, we gravitated in different directions, with Ray standing or sitting with a couple of favorite friends, and me saying “Hi,” to as many people as I could, but hoping to spend quality time with some.
I find that in most couples, one is the extrovert and the other is the introvert. One is the talker, and the other is the good listener. One creates and responds to every social event, and the other silently squirms but says “yes.” One of the two sends off all of the birthday and “thank you” notes, and Christmas messages and the other is grateful but doesn’t always feel it’s necessary. One is on Facebook and the other is not. One puts it all out there and the other is more private.
Of course, while the introverted partner is being quiet, they are also doing the taxes, calling the contractors, managing the expenses, getting the Internet back online, walking the dog, and otherwise making it possible for the extrovert to create their social life.
“Did you have fun at the party?” I asked Ray on our way home.
“Yes, I had a good time,” he said. “How about you?”
“Yes,” I said. “I like our routines too, but I loved seeing so many of our friends, and meeting nice people too. I told many of them that we’ll have them over.”
The car became very quiet.
Truth be told, Ray and I have rarely had a disagreement about being together at an event. I’ve worked at letting go of my image of the way things should be, and many years ago Ray found his own voice.
“Brian, get involved in anything you want, just don’t include me.”
There have been times when I didn’t want to go with Ray to an event, such as spending time with his parents. But, he never had to go alone if he wanted me there. How hard can two or three days be? A sudden silence just fell over me.
It would be a challenge for me to have as my husband another extrovert, and I don’t think another introvert would work well with Ray. We’re a good match, and we count on each other to make wise decisions, to have loving and gracious responses, and to prioritize the happiness of ourselves, and the other.
Brian McNaught has been an author and educator on LGBTQ issues since 1974. Former Congressman Barney Frank said of Brian, “No one has done a better job of chronicling what it’s like to grow up gay." http://www.brian-mcnaught.com/