Help! I Married an Introvert

She’s classical. I’m rock ‘n’ roll. 

She’s patient. I’m impulsive.

She’s soft-spoken while I can’t stop talking.

She’s practical—loves the details. I’m visionary—love the big picture.

She loves filling our evenings by cuddling up with a cup of coffee and reading together—just the two of us. I love that too but also crave adventure.

She loves going deep with a few close friends, while I want to be friends with everyone I meet. 

She is an introvert, and I am . . . well . . . I am not.

She is strong in all the areas I am weak. We are different in so many ways, and yet we complement each other so well.

We haven’t always celebrated these differences. Earlier in our marriage, this was a point of frustration. We struggled to understand each other or value one another’s personalities, viewpoints, and preferences. 

We are both driven dreamers who desperately want God to use us and accomplish great things for his kingdom in this world. But we were going about things in exhaustingly different ways. The driver in me would just go and go and go as she frantically held her foot on the brakes with all the strength she could muster while still seeking to honor and support me. 

For the longest time, I thought she would eventually adapt to my way of doing things, and we would be able to find joy and fulfillment in running hard together. And in many ways, we have.

But in attempting to force her “to come over to the dark side” and join the ranks of extroverts, I was utterly failing to value her personality and see it for what it is—not as weakness, but as her greatest strength, a much-needed contribution to our marriage.

Suitable Helper

God calls my wife my helper (Genesis 2:18). He uses the same word to describe his Holy Spirit (John 14:26), the Helper who comes, not to let me stay “just as I am,” but to change me and sanctify me to be just as Jesus is. In addition to all the other eternally important things the Holy Spirit does in me, he sees all the areas I’m a bonehead and shows me a better way.

My goal is not to force or convince the Holy Spirit to be like me or do ministry like I do. It’s to submit to his holy, sanctifying genius to change the way I do everything—for the better—for the glory of God.

Obviously my wife is not the perfect Holy Spirit. Flawed, she needs the Holy Spirit just like I do. But God, in his mercy, gave me an equal who is not like me, to complement, help, and sanctify me. My goal should not be to force her or convince her to always do things my way. It should be to lead her by cherishing her and recognizing that our differences are our strengths.

How It Plays Out

This plays out in many and various practical ways throughout each week.

Like how I am terrible at resting. I stink at taking naps because my mind has a hard time shutting down from all the ideas and dreams running through it. I really love my work in ministry, and I get a lot of joy out of it. As a result, it’s hard for me to slow down sometimes, and Sabbath can be difficult for me. Meanwhile, my wife thrives on her Sabbath, and her passion for it has graciously helped to smooth off my rough edges over the years so that I quite enjoy it now. I know that I need it. The Bible commands it. But it took a wife who is great at it to help me learn to rest well. Sometimes the godliest thing you can do is take a nap, and she has given me permission to stop trying to achieve all the time, and just recharge.

Like how I tend to say anything and everything that comes to mind, often unaware of how it affects others. I say things as if I know what I’m talking about, even if I might not, and this can sometimes get me into trouble. I know the Bible commands me to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but I do not naturally excel in this area. Meanwhile, my wife is a great listener and generally doesn’t speak unless she has something of substance to say—something important to contribute to the conversation. Usually when she does open her mouth, it’s like, “Wow! That’s wisdom!” It took a wife who is great at this to teach me how to think before I speak and weigh the effect of my words. Sometimes the godliest thing you can do is shut up, and she has given me the freedom to not always have something witty to say, but to just listen and stay silent.

Like how I have never known a stranger, but it’s not my natural inclination to focus more on lasting, deep friendships. Left to my own devices, I would probably fill our evenings by hanging with new acquaintances and call that living in community. But having a wife who thrives on a few deep friendships has helped me see the value of really going deep with a few people who know all my junk and love me regardless. Who call me out on my idolatry and spur me on toward holiness. Who push me to love Jesus more. It took a wife who is great at this to teach me about true community. Sometimes the godliest thing you can do is say no to yet another dinner with people you don’t really know, and she has challenged me to walk closely with a few true friends, as opposed to swimming in a sea of acquaintances.

Something Different, Something Better

She is like a mirror ever before me, and through her strengths, I see my weaknesses amplified. She represents the beauty and character of God in many ways I can’t. She challenges me and stretches me, quite painfully sometimes. Dying to self always is. God never promised our sanctification would be easy.

I can choose to bulldoze over her and crush her natural, God-given personality, or I can embrace how it complements my own and glorify God as I give myself up for her. It seems to me that the latter is what God had in mind when he paired me up with her and formed this unbreakable covenant.

This doesn’t mean I passively stand by and let her grab apples she shouldn’t be eating. It means I defend her and hold onto her with a kung-fu death grip when the serpent comes in and tries to exploit where her introversion lends itself to different sins I may not typically struggle with.

It means we are striving to out-serve one another; to make the other more important than ourselves. To cherish our differences and be changed by one another. It means just like I am learning her strengths, she is learning mine. It means letting her have her way in the small stuff, and then leading strong in the big decisions that will alter our lives.

It means that I won’t stay “just as I am” . . . and neither will she. Together, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will be something different. Something better.

I used to think, “Help! I married an introvert!” Now I’m singing, “Hallelujah! I married an introvert!”

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  • David Morse

    You don’t even know HOW much I needed this right now. This is like a clone of my relationship with my wife and I have struggled over our two years of marriage thus far with thinking that she might be a “sub-par” pastor’s wife because of her introverted nature. I know that is awful, but I have to be transparent. By God’s grace He is helping me take baby steps towards better understanding why introverts can serve others and love others just as well or better than extroverts, and by His mercy I continue to learn that my wife is my ultimate treasure, my completer. Thanks again for this!

  • EMSoliDeoGloria

    So true! I’m a mild extrovert and my husband is a mild introvert. He helps me take time (and give myself permission) to slow down and recharge. I’ve gotten to introduce him to a whole new world through my interests and hobbies. The different personalities of our friends (and especially our spouse) help us grow to appreciate the diversity of gifts God has placed in His body.

  • Carolyn

    How I need to hear this because I still have a lot to learn. How I want my children to understand this. My husband of 27 years and I share many of these same issues with some in reverse of your description. To see marriage as a means of God’s sanctification for both of us is empowering and encouraging. It makes marriage so much deeper than the “happily ever after” fairy tale we hope it will be. Your article helps my tendency to focus on wanting all my own needs met by a husband who is more like me. Wouldn’t that be awful? We are God’s gift to one another and He uses us to help one another to look more like Him. Even when it’s hard and we resist. What a privilege it is to be used by God in such a worthy way in the life of the man I love. And what a blessing he is to me when God uses him to smooth my many rough edges. Thank you for being transparent so that we might get just a glimpse of God’s glorious purposes for marriage. It helps a lot in the daily reality of our lives!

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  • Ruth Li

    God make the perfect couple who are benefitting for each other,to make the balance,to enhance their strength,and smooth off each other’s rough edges.That’s God’s blessing ,of letting people to experience joy and displeasure for their best.

  • Walejana

    Hmm, this is so true. Most profound point here is God calling our partner our helper, just like the Holy Spirit.

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  • Anon

    Is there advice for this situation in reverse? I’d consider myself a moderate introvert while my fiance is definitely an extrovert. I constantly feel like I’m trying to live up to expectations of spontaneity and adventure, when I just want to hang out and watch a movie.

  • Rachel Taylor

    That is me and my husband to a tee he is extremely extroverted and I am extremely introverted. He has gotten more used to the way I am but I am still trying to help him understand that it is fine for our son to be an introvert like his mom.

  • Leslie

    I am the introvert in my marriage and I think it sometimes makes my husband a bit crazy. He is like the energizer bunny! I think introverts have a hard time in our society and are the least understood, probably because they aren’t comfortable asking for what they need to thrive; whereas the extrovert is usually bold and forthright. My brain functions best when I am by myself. When I need to make a decision and really think, I have to be completely alone to process information. It’s also how I recharge. If I get that time then I can usually face the world and be around others, as long as it’s not a large crowd of others!
    I am thankful for my parents who let me go off and read by myself for hours and didn’t pester me about making friends. Growing up all I needed was a couple of really close pals and my sister, and that’s all I required for happiness. I also grew out of my early shyness and can be quite outspoken as an adult, I simply enjoy my own company more than most people and I am a “stop and smell the roses” kind of gal. I appreciate that my husband likes to surround himself with people and activity, and I let him do that without complaint.

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