Early Marriage | Part 14

by Elouise

Yesterday’s post suggests this marriage may not survive. Unfortunately, we didn’t know about Myers Briggs personality profiles until the mid-1980s. What a revelation and quick education! So today’s post lists how I live with an ISTJ.

I made this list just for me. Why? Because INFJ’s are more likely to leave a relationship than the other way around. ISTJs are loyal, steady and reliable. And they don’t like change.

  1. When talking to D, don’t just name how I feel. Use concrete examples (data!). Be sure to include how these feelings affect me. For example, don’t just say ‘I feel lonely.’ Describe my loneliness with an up-to-date example and how loneliness affects my relationship with him.
  2. No matter what I’m talking about, use stories as examples. Make it concrete and real. For example, describe what happened yesterday when I didn’t feel I’d been heard, or when I got angry. Do this without getting into a battle about details. Use ‘I’ language. No finger-pointing directly or indirectly!
  3. Resist the urge to fight every battle, even when it seems D wants to get into it. Stop. Take a deep breath. How important is it? Can and must it change?
  4. Be ready to agree to disagree. Try for a creative compromise if possible. What seems perfectly obvious to me isn’t perfectly obvious to D. This may take time.
  5. When it doesn’t work out, remember it may not be about one of us being right and the other being wrong. It’s more likely about personality differences, even though D may believe I’m wrong about that.
  6. Be honest with myself about what D can and cannot do or be. Work with what’s available and give up trying to change his mind.
  7. Let D know I appreciate and value his commitment to us and our family. Especially his ability to fix things, fill out our tax forms, plan the details of trips, and remember when to take the trash out for pickup.
  8. View him with the same compassion I’d like him to view me. Do this even if it seems he doesn’t have compassion for me. Remember, compassion isn’t one of his strong points.
  9. Don’t wait to get help for myself. I’m more likely to be discontent with him than he is with me.
  10. Whenever possible, laugh or joke about our differences without demeaning each other.
  11. When it comes to long, deep conversations about life, love and the great beyond, seek out other people who will enjoy having those conversations. Don’t expect D to be everything I need. He can’t be. What I need or want isn’t always what he needs, wants or can deliver.
  12. Expect compromise on both sides. I can’t be everything to him, either. Remain loyal and tell the truth no matter how difficult.
  13. Work hard on being best friends by taking advantage of differences to optimize creativity (me) or persistence until a task is completed (D). Celebrate when something is finished. Or half finished. Or even just begun!
  14. Tell him what I need in some detail. For example, how I need to have him listen to me right now (looking at me, not somewhere else). Tell him what I need to hear from him or have him do right now (the exact words, nicely).  Don’t let him off the hook. He enjoys pleasing me! Thank him from the heart.
  15. When he begins a long, detailed answer to my question, it’s OK to interject my INFJ wonderings and comments into the flow of words. This is a conversation, not a monologue. Do my part without trying to stop his verbal outpouring. He doesn’t like interruptions. This takes practice.
  16. Remember, D has emotions even though he may not recognize them or want to talk about them. Being overtly emotional isn’t his thing. It’s mine. Better to listen than to expect his tears or emotions to flow.
  17. Surprise him with data to support a request or suggestion I’d like to make. He’ll be super impressed!
  18. Don’t forget to forgive each other or say I’m sorry. It comes with the territory.

I think that should keep me busy for a while.

To be continued. . . .

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 22 May 2015
Images from kaileyrogers.com (INJF) and trendvee.com (ISTJ)