My husband is not an enthusiastic person. If he absolutely loves a meal he has at a restaurant, he’ll say, “That was pretty good.” If he has always wanted something and receives it as a gift, he will smile quietly and say, “Thanks!” I, on the other hand, sometimes squeal, laugh, jump up and down, or exclaim joyfully when I like something or something good happens.
When we first married, I would often look to my husband for an enthusiastic response. And each time he didn’t respond enthusiastically, I would be vaguely annoyed and saddened. Why didn’t he show the highs of emotions when I thought it was appropriate?
Over the years, I have learned that his lack of enthusiasm isn’t anything personal against me. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t enjoy life or the things I do for him. It just means that he is a low key person. Like we have discussed in the past, the things we dislike about our partners often come with things we like. In this case, his lack of enthusiasm is connected with his steadiness and calmness. Because he is less extreme in his emotional reactions, he is able to be the steady rock who keeps our relationship stable and helps me to feel safe.
So now, instead of being upset when he act predictably by being less enthused about something that I am, I try to remember that this is not unexpected and that it’s a fair trade off for something that is more important to me in the long run.
By the way, I did see him get truly enthusiastic once. When I told him that I was pregnant, his eyes welled up with happy tears and he gave me a long, long hug. Although my reaction had been a bit different (I jumped up and down yelling, “Yes! Yes!”), I thought his reaction was beautiful because it was fully his own. Ultimately, that’s what I want: for him to express himself in a way that expresses who he is, because I married him for who he is, not for the image I have in my mind for who he should be.