“We are completely out of debt!” I was flying high on a cloud of exhilaration. Our house in the city was finally sold and we had just deposited the equity into the bank. “We could… We could buy an RV and travel the United States!”
He just shook his head, not even willing to entertain the idea.
“We could move to Africa and minister to orphans! Wouldn’t that be awesome???”
Staring me straight in the eye he stated firmly and emphatically, “We are buying a house in the country, just like we’d planned.”
I’ve always been the dreamer. And Terry…well, let’s just say he’s always pulling me back to planet earth. Popping my balloons. Bursting my bubbles. At least that’s the way it’s seemed.
Once when I had been sharing with him some big scheme that I’d been pondering, he began the usual “all the reasons your crazy idea won’t work” and I leaned into him and playfully smiled, “Shhh…just dream with me!” He’s so practical. And logical. And I am…not.
He’s a Mr. Steady. Structured. Resolute. Hard-working, down-to-earth, steadfast, and a bit resistant to change. I, on the other hand, am spontaneous, creative, independent, idealistic, a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-skirt free spirit. Where he finds beauty and harmony in mundane, routine tasks, I am easily bored with predictability and repetition. He appreciates consistency. I crave adventure.
Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off!
Kind of reminds me of the 1930s song by the Gershwin brothers:
You like toMAYto and I like toMAHto…let’s call the whole thing off!
The first verse of that song goes like this:
Things have come to a pretty pass,
Our romance is growing flat,
For you like this and the other
While I go for this and that.
Goodness knows what the end will be;
Oh, I don’t know where I’m at…
It looks as if we two will never be one,
Something must be done.
As explained in the post Damage Repair (We Missed the Warning from God), which was published on our 29th anniversary on December 30, Terry and I have come to the realization that though God had rescued us out of the miry pit 20 years ago, saving our family from imminent destruction, our marriage is not all that it could be–all that it should be. Our resolution for 2017 is to roll up our sleeves and with God’s help and grace, fix it!
Step One: Who Are You?
We had heard of the Myers-Briggs personality test, in fact several members of our family had taken the quiz in the past couple of years. We thought it would be profitable for he and I to take the test, print out the results and go over them together.
First we read through our own results, highlighting and making notes. That in itself was very enlightening and we were both amazed at how well the test pegged each of us.
We then traded papers, delving into each other’s personalities. Using a different color, we highlighted sentences and paragraphs we wanted to discuss. He laughed a few times, saying, “Oh my gosh; that’s so YOU!” I was equally amused by his results.
We spent the rest of the day getting to know one another. That is literally how it felt!
Each personality type consists of 4 different letters, which translates into 16 different personality types. Though everyone is unique and has some traits of all 8 letters, most people will often be more inclined towards one letter in each set.
(E) Extrovert vs. (I) Introvert
How we gain our energy
(S) Sensing vs. (N) Intuitive
How we take in information
(T) Thinking vs. (F) Feeling
How we make decisions
(J) Judging vs. (P) Perceiving
Our lifestyle preference
*You can read additional details of each personality trait here.
I am “The Campaigner” an ENFP (Extrovert, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving). He is “The Defender” an ISFJ (Introvert, Sensing, Feeling, Judging). Taking these traits into consideration, this is frequently what our relationship looks like:
Extrovert vs. Introvert: I gain energy by being with people, thus I truly enjoy the company of others and as a result, I have many friends. Terry gains energy by being alone and though he enjoys an occasional social gathering, he prefers quiet evenings at home.
Sensing vs. Intuitive: Terry is sensing and tends to focus on the details, while I am intuitive and prefer to see the overall picture. He can’t understand how I overlook the peeling paint and messy room, while I tend to view his observations as nit-picky and prefer to focus instead on the overall charm of our home. He is a realist who tends to see people and situations how they are, whereas I am a idealist and view people and circumstances for how they can be.
Feeling vs. Thinking: This is one trait we share, which means we both have the desire to empathize and understand each other. A Thinking type is more inclined to want to provide a solution, which can make a Feeling type feel frustrated when they only want to be understood.
Perceiving vs. Judging: Terry is judging, which means he loves structure. He’s very organized and responsible, and tends to stick to a plan. My perceiving trait helps me to be flexible and spontaneous, but I tend to start many projects and have trouble finishing even a few. I also put the PRO in procrastination. This can drive my man crazy.
How this Knowledge Helps
Learning how we are wired and how this influences every area of our lives, especially our marriage and how we relate to one another has been a fascinating journey thus far. Like many couples, an area we have greatly struggled with is communication and misreading each other’s motives. Being aware of our individual traits and discovering the root of our behavior, as well as the motives behind the way we respond really goes a long way in helping us to truly understand one another. I am also learning to appreciate his strengths and am amazed at how our differences complement each other. I depend on his reliability and calming influence. He enjoys my enthusiasm and commitment to personal ideals. We are learning to effectively communicate with one another and this is where a personality test can be a great tool.
He may still need to occasionally grab hold of my feet and pull me back to planet earth, but now he is more inclined to gently reach out to catch me and I am now content to land safely in his strong, dependable arms.
I call that progress. 🙂
Take the test here and come back and share your personality type in the comments!
On our anniversary I was contacted by Personal Creations, who generously offered to help Terry and I remember and maintain our relationship goals for 2017 by gifting us an item from their anniversary gifts collection. This beautiful carved heart art canvas is perfect! Isn’t it stunning?! This 16 x 20 print will grace the wall above our bed in our newly-remodeled bedroom (which I will be sharing more about in a future post). Head over to Personal Creations to see all they have to offer and be sure to check out their line of sweet Valentine’s ideas as well as their gorgeous personalized wedding gifts. Unique personalized gifts for life’s special occasions.