There is one key thing introverts need to know about marriage. The vows are pretty straightforward: love, honor, cherish, obey, listen to as necessary, surprise with steak on occasion, warm your damned icy feet before getting into bed, for richer/for poorer, in sickness/in health, full of crap/not full of crap etcetera, etcetera till death do us part. (At least those are the ones I remember.)
The part that introverts need to pay attention to is the “to have and to hold from this day forward … till death do us part.” They need to realize that the other person will be around them for a very long time, in the same house, touching your stuff, sharing your stuff, questioning why you have so much stuff that runs on batteries, questioning why you want to buy more stuff. Add children into the mix and introverts are, well, having some issues.
From what I’ve read here and there, and things from here and there are always right, extroverts gain energy from social interactions. The more people there are around, the merrier the extrovert becomes. Introverts, on the other hand, expend energy during social interactions. The more people around, the more energy that’s spent. It’s no joke to say that introverts need time to recharge after extended social interactions, especially if karaoke and/or family are involved or an “interested and perky demeanor” is required. (For the record: I don’t do perky. Instead, my goofy is spot on. It’s quite natural, actually.)
This hit me a couple years ago when, for various complicated reasons, my three lovely ladies stayed home during the summer rather than heading off to the in-laws. Eventually, we traveled together to the in-laws where I had to interact with even more people and maintain an “interested and goofy demeanor”. In the past, I’d be working in the summer and would eventually make my own way to the Japan Sea coast, or just stay home and visit over the new year’s holiday. It was a nice break for everyone, especially this introvert. A couple years ago, though I found myself getting stressed and anxious and developing a kind of cabin fever where I couldn’t focus on anything for more than a short time. That feeling carried on throughout the rest of the year. I couldn’t figure out what was going on.
I eventually realized that it was the first year since I’d started at university, that I hadn’t had had any time alone. I’d always had at least a week to recharge. This time, though, the introvert in me had spent all its energy and wasn’t getting the chance to recharge.
I explained all this to She Who Must Be Obeyed who recited the “full of crap/totally full of crap” vow (something like that) but accepted that even though I like my in-laws and love my family, I don’t always like being around them. Absence doesn’t just make the heart grow fonder, it makes the heart stronger, at least for a little while.