Monday, October 17, 2016

Marriage between Detailed and Creative people

I saw this video and it made me think of learning to "pull together" in marriage.

He shops, cleans, does laundry,
and pays bills "for us".
Allowing me the quiet time
I need to study and think,
 so I can write "for us".

Forty-four years ago I never thought I would write something like this, but I just did. In fact, I wondered if our marriage ever work. We were miserable. He was always so critical of everything I did. I wanted him to be more relaxed, and have a little spontaneity. He never wanted anything to change, and that was what my life was about -- change. My credo was, "Why not?" and his was, "Why!". He was a firm believer in, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!", while I longed to help everyone achieve their potential. My husband lived in constant fear of his "irresponsible, immature, incapable" partner who he tried, unsuccessfully, to keep in tight control. I grew increasingly resentful and angry toward this ISTJ (introverted sensing thinking judging) person who kept trying to "correct" me and who treated me like I was a child. I felt like I had red lines marked all over me. I definitely did not want to be made over into some "proper, orderly" person. If that is what he wanted, then why hadn't he married someone who was like that. I had been me. I hadn't pretended (like I could!) to be any one different. I was who I am-- a gifted creative person, an INFJ (introverted intuitive feeling judging) individual.

Well, how did we get from that dismal point to where we are now? Mainly, with a lot of prayer. I'm not kidding. It took help beyond our own for us both to appreciate the other's strengths.

  • I came to appreciate his tremendous ability to concentrate on details, instead of resenting it. I learned to put on the calendar everything that wasn't his work. Before I kept waiting for him to make time for us, to get out, to relax. When he didn't, I felt unloved. True, I felt a little strange having to schedule everything, but I accepted that planning came easily to me and that he needed a plan to implement. My perspective changed. Instead of being overwhelmed by our "irreconcilable differences", I saw our complementary natures as  a "match made in heaven". My taking the time to plan things out gave him the structure he needed so he could take action. I hadn't realized how much stress I was causing him by expecting him to act without a plan. 
  • After a lot of experience, he came to listen when I said, "I don't feel good about this", or "This person is really feeling ---". It was very difficult for him to accept my strong intuitive abilities and quit requiring everything I said to be backed up by a mound of documentation. He trusts what he can see, hear, touch, or at least read. I do too, but what I see, hear, and feel is within me. He has come to depend on my "extra perceptions" and I on his keen ability to notice, handle, and remember details.
  • We had to understand each other's view of change. At first I thought he simply hated any change in anything, but that really wasn't it. He is the valiant upholder of all good in society, and I am an idealist who wants to make a better world. It took time, but we both came to realize that we had similar goals. I just had to learn to slow down a little and take the time to explain to him how the change would improve our life and make it better. I had felt it was obvious, but it wasn't to him. He just thought I was impulsively seeking change for change's sake. He feared that I was out to destroy "the order of society". I had to allow him the time he needed to understand and adjust to a change. I came to understand that he did want to improve and grow. He just needed the assurance that my suggestion would truly be a change for the good.
  • Over time, I  realized how invaluable his ability to see the flaws in my plans could be. Instead of feeling that he was always criticizing me and not accepting my ideas, I turned it around. I asked him if he saw any problems in what I was proposing. He almost always did, but being the creative person that I am, I used his information to create a plan that would work. At first he would just declare, "It won't work!"  My response was, "If you would be given a million dollars to work out a solution to this problem, could you do it?"  Begrudgingly, he conceded that he would. I pointed out that then it was merely a matter of motivation. Since I had that motivation, and he had the background knowledge, we certainly could find a way to solve this problem. I completely believe that the impossible only takes a little longer. With my help, he has gained confidence in our ability to solve problems. He no longer attempts to fight against the "impossible", but helps make it a reality. 

True, it has taken us both a lot of effort, love, patience, and prayer to learn to appreciate and work with someone who thinks so differently than we each do. It has been challenging at times, but it has given us abilities far beyond our own.  Now, not only do I have access to my intuitive feeling abilities, but also his sensing thinking abilities. He makes my dreams come true, and helps me set realistic goals so I don't end up exhausted. Now, he can do more than just follow set patterns. He has the ability, with my help, to come up with new solutions and have better relationships with others. 

At last, we are able to not only appreciate, but support each other's talents. No longer is he expecting me to be "little miss homemaker" or his secretary, and I have learned to see his love in a fixed toilet instead of a bouquet of roses. His greatest gift of love to me has been to become my "patron". Now retired, he is shouldering most of the home details "for us", so I can write "for us". This unity has been a long time coming, but well worth it!.

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