Wednesday, November 12, 2014

When you and your husband have clashing personalities

When Derek and I started dating, I knew we were different. We had differing opinions on many things, how to handle certain situations, etc. We agree on a lot, but we disagree on a lot too. For example: Derek likes to go to bed with the TV on, while I can't sleep unless it's off. Another: I could spend every day eating good, hearty food, while the only reason Derek eats is to sustain his life. Seriously, he doesn't care what he eats and I really don't think he even "enjoys" eating, whereas I take great pleasure in it. 

One of my favorite things is comparing personalities - when I was younger (read: high school and college - not that long ago) I would compare my astrology sign with others - my friends, boyfriends, parents, teachers, anyone. If you've been a reader for a while, you'll know that I took the Briggs-Myers Personality test (and then compared it to a Harry Potter character) a while back and it told me I was an ENFJ.

Confused yet? If you've never heard of (or taken) the Briggs Myers test, I'll break it down for you. Basically it breaks up your personality into four categories:

Introverted - gains and expresses energy from their own internal world (enjoys alone time)
Extroverted - gains and expresses energy outwardly from the external world (prefers to be around people)

Sensing - believes mainly facts and information that is taken from the outside world (books, reports, etc)
iNtuition - a person receives information based on their own thoughts or their "gut feelings."

Thinking - processes and makes decisions based on facts and logic
Feeling - uses their emotions as guides for decision making

Perceving - prefers a comfortable, laid back environment
Judging - prefers a structured environment with guidelines everyone should follow

For more detailed information, go here or here. To take the test yourself, go here.

So, as I said before, I'm Extroverted, iNtuitive, Feeling , and Judging (ENFJ) with a very strong preference toward feeling and only a slight preference toward judging. Derek, on the other hand is Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, and Judging (INTJ) with a very strong preference toward thinking and only a slight preference toward introversion.

So what does this mean for our relationship? It means we have to work really hard.

An ENFJ and an INTJ walk in to a barn.... get it?


We are opposites in the first category, however neither of us have a strong preference toward extroversion or introversion. While I do enjoy being out and about, I can definitely be happy just sitting at home with a glass of wine and a good book, or just hanging out with Derek watching TV. The same goes for him, while he can definitely be a homebody, he doesn't mind going out and being with friends. He prefers more "intimate" settings - like a few good friends hanging around a fire or playing cards, rather than going to a big party. I think the main reason I lean toward introversion is because I love to talk, so I just need to be around somebody - it doesn't have to be a huge crowd. So thankfully, in this case, our opposing types really complement each other.

We both had preferences toward intuition, with his preference being a little stronger than mine, but not by much. This is a good thing, because it means we both gather information using our intuition and formulate opinions on things based on our gut - basically we are good at figuring things out for ourselves. A good example is when we had to put together a shelving unit for our bathroom and barely needed the instructions.

Now, here's where things get tricky: I am a feeler while Derek is a thinker. We both had very strong preferences in this category - which means we are complete opposites. While Derek makes his decisions based off cold, hard facts, and states things often without thinking about how it is going to make others feel. He is not easily offended and can usually come off sounding a little harsh. I, on the other hand, am a big time feeler - I base all of my decisions off my emotions and anything around me can easily make me happy or sad or mad. While I am highly attuned to my own feelings and emotions (and those of others) while Derek, a classic INTJ, often has little to no idea how another person is feeling, unless he specifically attends to their emotions using a thinking process (i.e. he doesn't know I'm upset by the "little things," instead I actually have to tell him).

So what does that mean for us? Basically it means that if I get enjoyment out of something (blogging, for example) that I have to actually explain to Derek that blogging makes me happy. To him, because it doesn't make him happy, it is unimportant and he doesn't "see" that it makes me happy - since the things that make him happy include jet skis and car engines. No longer can I assume that just because I am feeling sad/hurt/upset about something, that he will automatically sense my feelings and try to make it better. But once I tell him exactly why/how/what made me feel that way, he can start a plan of corrective action (that's the thinker in him). It's been difficult from the beginning: him thinking that if it doesn't affect him, it doesn't affect anyone else; and me thinking that if I'm feeling a certain way that he should just "get it" automatically. It also explains a lot about our love languages (mine is words of affirmation, while his is acts of kindness). For a feeler like me, it only makes sense that we love to tell people how we feel and be told by others how they feel. In Derek's logical, thinking mind, doing "acts of kindness" (like changing the oil in my car) is the best way to show love, because not only does it really help me out - it's completely practical.

One of the biggest and most important things I've learned about Derek is that he LOVES to explain something. So, to build on his thinking personality type, I try to ask him questions about specific things he is working on (whether work related or for fun) and he can talk for hours. Even though it's something I'm not always totally interested in, it's important to him and it makes him feel loved and important to talk about his projects.

Lastly, we are both "judgers" meaning we value structured environment. If we're being completely honest here, I was surprised at my result. I thought for sure I would be a perceiver, because I am totally not "type A." I never use a planner, my desk is a mess, and I'm always doing things by the seat of my pants. What I think happened with the test is that in my mind I want to be judging, structured, and organized, but I'm just not. So it's great that I have Derek in my life - in the few weeks that he's been moved in, our apartment is neater and more organized, and I don't have piles of laundry all over the place. Not necessarily because he does it for me, but because being around him helps my scattered brain become more focused on the tasks at hand.


At least we can agree on the important things - like which football team to root for.
 
Looking at the bigger picture, our opposing personalities can really complement each other - but only if we continually work on our communication and how we show our love to each other. It won't be easy (and honestly I didn't need a personality test to know that) but I think knowing exactly why we have our little disagreements about certain things, and even the same things over and over again, can really help build our relationship into a strong one.
 
So tell me, what's your personality type? Did you marry (or are you dating)(or is your bestie) someone with the same or opposite personality?
 
This post was inspired by Bonnie's similar post on Life of Bon.

28 comments:

totravelandbeyond said...

My fiance and I have almost totally opposite personalities, the funny thing is we work for a personality company and that is how we met haha. We looked at the Myers-Briggs test and made it into something fun and fast, if you want to try the demos we have- demo.traitify.com. They are all pretty quick, and the results are scientifically proved and developed by Psychologists. So it isn't like the Buzzfeed tests haha

Cassie Lee @ Sage the Blog said...

I love this post. My husband and I are both INFJs. Although that might sound easy to some, it SO hard. It's not fun being the same all the time hahaha. BUT marriage isn't easy either way, so I think it's just learning how to work together :)

Ashten @ alwaysashten said...

1. I'm an ENFJ. THIS IS WHY WE ARE FRIENDS.
2. Kyle is an ESFP, so just the right amount of things in common make us work.
3. All relationships work, but it takes two people who are really aware of themselves AND their significant other to really last. Sounds like you and Derek have it down.

Kay said...

I loved Bonnie's post on this and I love this one just as much! It is just beyond interesting to me to see what kinds of personalities people are and how they make them work with different personalities. Especially in a marriage situation. Maybe it's the nerd in me or maybe it's the Nosey Nora in me, but I love it!

Tracie Everyday said...

Gabriel and I are almost the same as you two. We have to work extra, super hard to make sure that each one is getting what they need since our needs are different. And him begin such an explainer makes me sooooo annoyed some days, then I remember that is his thing and makes him happy and he does things that soooo annoy him some days to make me happy.

Kristine said...

Oh my gosh, I've taken this test but I've never thought to have my other half take it and compare. Putting this on my "to-do" list.

Kels @ BlonderSide said...

Woah....I'm an ENFJ as well so i can totally relate to you as you're explaining it. I'd be curious now to make everyone else in my life take this and see where they fall. it just might improve relationships!lol

Girl Brooks said...

I love this and now I'm absolutely wanting to know what Nick is vs. what I am. I may have to borrow this idea, but honestly, I think Nick and Derek are very similar from the way you describe him.

Fairy Princess Jord said...

So interesting to read about tor results, your analysis and how you make it work. I sometimes wonder about how I can date someone who is so much more extroverted than me (even though he tells me he likes the way I balance him out). You and your husband seem like a old blend of similarities and differences (:

Shane Prather said...

I feel your pain- I am an ESTJ and my boyfriend is an ENFP. He feels all the feels in the relationship

Him & Me (But Mostly Me) said...

Wow! My husband and I are pretty similar to that. We'll have to do the test so we can figure out all our differences and how to work with them. Thanks for this post!

Ashley Robyn said...

I read this post on my way to school yesterday (no judging) and I had to come back and comment. This post. It literally hit the nail on the head of my husband and I. 2 years of marriage and 8 years of dating later and I am still trying to figure out all that you wrote in this post. We are so alike in so many ways and so opposite in others. I love all that you said about support those differences and just plain accepting them. Love!!

Megan C. Stroup said...

I am also an INTJ (Draco Malfoy! eek! haha), but my husband is definitely an extrovert. This can be difficult because I work in an extroverted job and he works in an introverted job, so when we come home from work, he just wants to TALK TALK TALK and I just want to enjoy the silence haha. So we've had to compromise on that and understand that about each other. :)

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