Passives VS. Aggressives

Author Gary D. Chapman From Things I wish I’d known before we got married 5 years ago 9526

The old adage says, “Some people read history; others make it.” Often these people are married to each other. The aggressive husband or wife believes that each day is a new opportunity to advance the cause. They will aggressively pursue what they want, what they believe to be right, or what they think should happen. They will go to all ends, they will turn every stone, and they will do everything humanly possible to accomplish their goals in life. On the other hand, the passive person will spend time thinking, analyzing, wondering “What if...” and waiting for something good to happen. Their theme is, ''Everything comes to him who waits.”

Before marriage, these traits made them seem compatible. The aggressive partner found it comforting to observe the calm, cool, and collected nature of the other person. They liked the stable, predictable nature of the one they loved. The passive person was pleased to have someone make plans and chart courses for their future. They admired the accomplishments of their aggressive lover.

After marriage, the couple often finds these traits divisive. The aggressive partner keeps trying to push the passive partner into action. “Come on; we can make this happen” is their mantra. On the other hand, the passive partner keeps saying, “Let’s wait. There might be a better opportunity later. Don’t get so excited. Everything is going to work out.”

Are these traits observable in the dating stage of the relationship? The answer is yes, but often they are never discussed. The passive person tends to simply go along with anything the aggressive person wants to do. They enjoy the adventure and are caught up in the excitement of being in love. They will seldom express opposition to the aggressive person's ideas. When the two of them walk into a room, the aggressive person will assess what needs to be done and take charge to make it happen while the passive person stands by, perhaps talking to a friend, waiting to see what the evening will bring. The aggressive person will often engage the passive person by asking them to do something specific to move the cause along. Because they are in love with the aggressor, the passive personally often complies and may even feel good about having been a part of the process.

While there is nothing innately wrong with either of these personality traits, they do hold the potential for irritation after marriage. When the heightened emotions of being in love have faded, the passive person will be more resistant to the request of the aggressor and may feel that

they are being manipulated or controlled. The aggressor may feel frustrated and even angry with the hesitation of the passive personality. It is certainly possible for these two individuals to build a successful marriage, but it requires the aggressor to be empathetic and understanding of the passive personality. He must take time to hear the concerns of the passive individual and even to realize the assets that they bring to the marriage. For example, “looking before one leaps” is always a good idea. The passive person is far more likely than the aggressor to be “looking”. On the other hand, the passive person must allow the aggressive person to use her strengths and let her leap before it is too late. If you cannot conscientiously leap with her, then hold the rope while she does so. Together you will accomplish much in life, if you learn how to complement each other, rather than be competitors.

If you can discuss this personality difference before marriage and gain some experience in working together as a team, you are far more likely to make this difference an asset rather than a liability once you are married.

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