Myer-Briggs is my favorite personality test. When I stumbled across this little nugget about Isabel Myers and her husband, Clarence “Chief” Myers, I was exhilarated: I have the same personality type as Myers (INFP), our husbands have the same personality type (ISTJ), and, according to the Myers-Briggs test, we are NOT supposed to be compatible!
Isabel and Chief were, by all accounts, happily married; Matt and I are, as well (of course I have to say that, but it’s nevertheless true). However, learning to love each other has had its obstacles. I thought I’d share a few tidbits of what it’s like being an INFP who is married to an ISTJ:
1. There are no “meaning of life” conversations.
We are on one of our first dates. I am pouring my heart out, delving into the complexities of something that now escapes me. After a heartfelt monologue, I ask Matt: “Do you know what I mean?” He says, “Yes” and sums up my exposition with a one-liner.
I am pissed.
“You can’t just respond with one sentence.” I want him to appreciate every nuance and shade of meaning. After explaining myself in-depth, again, Matt says he understands, again, and with the same one-liner. I throw up my hands in frustration. Matt chuckles to himself. We don’t have “meaning of life” conversations anymore.
2. Matt knows how to spell everything.
I am a terrible speller. I ask him all the time to check my writing, or to spell something out of thin air for me. My poor spelling isn’t a huge deal…except for the fact that, every once in a while, I commit the betrayal of misspelling our last name. It’s “Wetzel, not Wetzle,” he chides. Oops.
3. Matt doesn’t say much. But, when he does speak, he HATES being interrupted.
I interrupt him all the time. When he pauses for dramatic effect, I impulsively jump ahead and finish his sentence for him or try to read his thoughts.
After getting angry a dozen times for being interrupted, I ask him what’s wrong. “When it’s my turn to speak, I want to speak,” he says.
“I thought we were having a conversation,” I reply. “A conversation requires back-and-forth.”
“I’m trying to talk. You keep interrupting me.”
“Well…was I right? Did I guess what you were going to say?”
He furrows his brow as if to say “That’s not the point.” And I push him to tell me what’s wrong. “You stole my thunder,” he admits.
“But I’m showing you how well I understand you by knowing what you have to say before you even say it.” My tone is conciliatory, but my attitude is kind of cocky.
He concludes, “When I have something to say, I want to be the one to say it.”
4. There is a right way and a wrong way to fold towels.
Matt has shown me the “right way” many times. If I were to fold them just so, our linen closet would look like a maid did our laundry, all the towels lined up evenly on the shelf, like fluffy legos. This would please Matt greatly.
My way of folding towels is to take them out of the basket and stuff them in the closet. I fold the rest of the laundry the same way. Incidentally, I’m very fast at putting away laundry, and I enjoy the chore.
Matt’s response to the sprawling linen closet is to teach me how to fold the towels again.
I smile, “Honey, if you don’t like the towels like this, you can fold them.” He knows I’m not being snarky. I just don’t have it in me to fold a straight line.
5. Matt is very consistent; I’m sorta consistent; and I’m rubbing off on him.
It’s Tuesday morning. The garbage truck is rattling up the alley. There is no garbage can on the street outside our house. I race out to the curb, hugging my pajamas to my chest, one hand lugging the overflowing bin as it leaks rainwater (or another mysterious liquid) on my house slippers. I made it…just in the nick of time.
I storm in the house, fuming. “You didn’t take out the garbage last night!!!!!!”
Matt shrugs his shoulders, “I’m sorry, honey. I forgot.”
“But you NEVER forget!” My tone is accusatory. My eyes add a melodramatic “How could you?!”
“I just forgot, honey.”
Of course, I forget about things all the time. But this is different. This is something HE forgot about. If someone’s going to be consistent, they should just be consistent, right??
He can tell I’m still mad. “I didn’t forget on purpose. We’re on the same team.”
I go into the bedroom, ostensibly to change out of my wet socks, but really so I can fume in peace. After I calm down, I realize I’m being an ass.
I go back out to the kitchen. “Sorry for overreacting.”
“It’s OK.” He says. “I’m sorry for forgetting about the garbage.”
“There’s nothing to forgive.” I say.
Even if he’s more organized than me, neither of us are perfect.
(Take this test to find out your personality type.)