Opposites Attract

Russell Moore picks at the notion that opposites attract in a recent newsletter.

That’s one reason many people love to find out their Enneagram number or Myers-Briggs type—or even to take one of those Which Marvel character are you?” quizzes online. If nothing else, those things can offer a baseline caricature for, say, why my wife and I react so differently when we hear that a friend is in the hospital after surviving a car accident. The thought balloons over her head would read along the lines of We need to organize people to provide meals for their family and find out how to get their kids to school.” My thought balloons would say, Life is short and fragile. Death is coming for all of us” before trailing off into Psalm 104, some Walker Percy quotes, and the lyrics to Jimmy Buffett’s He Went to Paris.”

The Myers-Briggs personality test, which is based on Jungian archetypes, uses the premise that opposites do indeed attract in that two people with different strengths can complement each other. This has fascinated me ever since college and shaped the way I view my relationship with my wife (who has the opposite of my personality type — according to the MBTI). Like puzzle pieces, we come together in a way that covers each other’s gaps. My wife is an ESTJ and I’m an INFP. This data was incorporated into our premarital counseling and has helped to form our preferred style of conflict resolution.

However, what Moore observes is that the people involved in a relationship need to share a worldview. If my wife and I complemented each other but had radically different ways of viewing the world, our marriage probably would not be as stable.


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