Help! I am Married to an Introvert! How to Work Through Personality Differences in Marriage

My husband and I are opposites in personality.

We have common core values and some of our personality traits converge.. but basically we are as different as light and day! 🙂

For those familiar with the DISC Personality Profile System, my husband is an introverted C/S and I am an extroverted D/I

Help! I am married to an introvert! How to work through personality differences in marriage

Snapshot of the  the DISC system

The acronym “DISC” is taken from the first letter of each behavioral trait

Dominant (D)

Influencing (I)

Steady (S)

Compliant (C)

As a D/I blend, I am a leader-type; direct, decisive, demanding, persistent, interactive, persuasive, sometimes-flighty, often lets-cut-through-the-chase type of person.

In most situations, I’ll be trying to overcome opposition in order to win as well as trying to shape the environment through persuasion*

As a C/S blend, my husband is a calm, methodical, analytical, sensitive, diplomatic, steady, cautious lets-think-through-this-cos-life-is-in-the-details kind of person.

He is focused on quality and accuracy and also likes to work within pre-set conditions to complete tasks*

How our personalities interact

When you are married to your opposite, whether in personality or other areas, you are guaranteed a ton of fun and not-so-fun times!

This is how personalities recently “interacted”, for example

We were in a class, mostly as observers when I noticed that the teacher and students needed some assistance.

I turned to my husband and mentioned what needed to be done a.k.a what I was about to do.

Being the analyzing lets-not-upset-the-environment person, he thought we should wait until the teacher asked for specific help.

And that’s where the fireworks would have began a few years ago;

I would have been mad that 1) he wasn’t noticing what needed to be done, 2) he was not offering to help 3) he was standing in my way.

He on the other hand would have been irritated by my pushiness and trying to make him to do things without thinking.

But mercifully, we been married a few years now (phew  🙂 ) and have been learning how to work and thrive through our personality differences.

So my husband took one more look at my face, listened to a few more words and waved me on with a big cheerful smile “go on, babe!”

Married to your opposite?

If you are married to your opposite (I am guessing that’s many of us here!) here’s a few things to keep in mind as you do life together

1. Consult consult consult

As a couple, both my husband and I are driven super-achievers (that’s where our personalities converge).

But we differ in our “how-to”.

While he’s meticulous and will rarely jump into new projects or undertakings (unless there’s a dress shirt sale in JCPenny! lol ), I  typically don’t care much for long processes; I run towards goals with my gut instinct more than my mind!

(..which drives most “C” spouses nuts because they don’t  understand how anyone can “get it” without a methodical process!)

If you are married to your opposite, consultation is your friend!

Don’t think “he won’t get it anyway, why bother? Let’s deal with the aftermath

Or if you are the softer personality “I dare not offer my opinion, I can’t take the hustle!

You got to talk because without talking, no one knows what’s going on and you’ll be disagreeing and clashing unnecessarily.

Obviously consultation is more work, than doing your own thing. But that’s just a responsibility of being one-flesh.

Consultation is also lot like validation; Beth Steffaniak says

“Validation can make communication more comforting and effective. In highly charged moments validation can be crucial and clarifying”

You may not approach life or projects the same way, but the act of consultation and talking-out makes your spouse feel valued, respected, honored, involved

It smoothens out the bumps and creases.

Also note; even when you believe you want the same thing, don’t skip on consultation; because just because you want the same thing does not mean you want it done the same way.

Which brings us to the next point

2. Remember your common values, what you agree on.

It’s easy to focus on your differences and allow them to smoke your common values and love.

But truth is, your values played a big (ger!) role in bringing you together, it wasn’t all about personality traits.

And I think personality issues are easier to transform, than say, value issues.

Of course God does change both.

But the point here, is don’t focus on one part of your spouse and forget the other important areas you have in common.

3. Don’t allow you personality differences to discourage you

Because of his analyzing gift, my husband is not given to speed 🙂

In the past I thought he was unsure and uncertain and would allow that to paralyze my faith and hopes.

We are still a work in progress when it comes to harmonizing our speeds.

But after understanding that it’s just how he does life – he’s not lacking in faith or direction – I am no longer worried.

Don’t allow your differences to pull you down but instead focus on God.

Pray for him, believe God to work everything for good, but lock your eyes on Jesus.

Remember that God brought you together for a reason. Often it’s your differences  that challenge you and make you better as individuals.

But when you take the easier route, refusing to press beyond painful clashes and difficulties, you short-circuit your own growth and delay God’s purposes.

Help I Married an Introvert! Working through personality differences in marriage

4. Don’t try to change each other. Or yourself

God has transformed me in our 6 short years of marriage.

So much so that new friends assume I am the softer, quieter one in the relationship.

And the miracle? I no longer try to set the record straight!

Listen, God might not give you a personality transplant, but as you pray, obey and walk with Him, He will transform you from the inside out.

But to experience the fullness of that transformation, you must quit trying to change yourself or your man, and instead focus on being the person God wants you to be.

And that person is the kind that is growing in the attributes and gift found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and Galatians 5:22-23

Sticky point;

When things get hot I try to remember that “We are all trying to be like Jesus in this house!”

That is, our goal is not to be more of a D or I or S or C, but to be like Jesus, who was perfect in personality and every way.

Now it’s your turn: Are you married to your opposite? How do you navigate/thrive in your different personalities? If you are similar in personality, how has that worked to your advantage.. or not?

 

Additional insight; from From Dave Ramsey’s Disc Online Assessment

 

Linking with Messy Marriage, we are That family, Wifey Wednesday

17 Comments

  1. I love the title of this, Ngina, especially since I’m also married to an introvert. 🙂 He would probably like to read a post titled, “Help, I’m married to an extrovert!” We can laugh about our differences and appreciate them now–at least most of the time–but it took awhile to get there! Love all of your tips!

    1. Haha, you’ve read my mind Barb, I too thought I should ask my husband to write the post “help i am married to an extrovert!” I am sure he’d have tales to tell! 🙂 I’ve found this true as well, some things do become funny down the line..we just need to learn how to work together and then the rest isn’t as difficult.

  2. I think you need to have the foundational mindset that your partner’s perspectives and differences are strengths in your combined arsenal, not weaknesses that distract from yours. Then the rest comes easier!

    1. Amen Loren, that;s a powerful way to look at it! I want to remember that next time I am struggling, thank you for sharing that.

  3. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser says:

    My wife and I are definitely opposites, but it wasn’t always that way. Since the onset of the severe phase of my illness, I’m a lot more introverted…and she’s become more socially engaged.

    Leaving the ranch is physically difficult for me – a long drive on a dirt road, and by the time we reach pavement I just want to go home. So she goes out, and I stay back, and generally don’t talk to anyone except the dogs (I no longer keep a phone – the service is so poor it’s not worth it).

    So she’s engaged in the world,and I’m cut off from it…and that has, to some degree, cut us off from one another. There isn’t much to talk about. She used to tell me what she’d done during the day, but now there are other people to tell – people who’ll understand better.She’s never been particularly interested in what I do, and I’ve lost the desire to tell her – or anyone – what my day was like.

    This is emerging as a cautionary “don’t let this happen to you!” tale, and I suppose that’s exactly what it should be.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2014/10/spiritual-respect-second-pillar.html

    1. Andrew, thank you for sharing so honestly. I believe that many who read your comment will be challenged. I pray for you and your wife, that connection will be restored and you will find healing for your body and marriage.

  4. Am I married to my opposite?
    In some ways, yes, in other ways, no.
    One of our biggest differences is, even though we are both introverts, we are very different. We’re introverts by the definition that after being around crowds, we need time alone to “recharge.” I grew up with 6 siblings, so I can handle a crowd just fine, but then later like to have down time at home. My husband, conversely, doesn’t like crowds at all.
    I think that what I’ve learned from being married 4 years is that it’s important to communicate — meaning it’s important to spell everything out: What we want in life, what our activities are going to be, how long we will be at this big party with my family, how many people will be there.
    I was thinking the other day about Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit. Satan came to Adam and he made his choice. Satan came to Eve and she made her choice. And then Adam and Eve talked about it. How different would it have been if Satan came to one of them and they said, “Let me talk about this with my spouse first.”?
    Thanks for your comment about remembering that we all try to be like Jesus.

    1. So very insightful, Julie. I like what you’ve said about being specific, it takes out most of the guesswork and expectations are clear. It’s interesting the different dimensions within a personality, right. All the more reason to really learn our spouse and rely on God.
      Ha, that’s a good question, on Adam and Eve. Things would have been very different!
      Thanks so much for reading and encouraging us.

  5. When things get hot I try to remember that “We are all trying to be like Jesus in this house!”
    The above is exactly what has to be remembered to work with each other, as a team. Never more was it needed then on the mission field with all the other hardship coming at us from just living in a third world in a remote area without continuous electricity and a few other conveniences that help soothe the weary soul. Since then I have figure if Ace and I can work together in those circumstance all else is a breeze. Of course we have experience some hard times adjusting to US living and figuring how what our ministry together is going to look like again. Good post my sister, this is stuff couples need on a continuous bases.

    1. Betty, I am from a developing nation, as you know, but now living in the US, I still marvel at how much missionaries have to adjust. it’s much easier here, on many levels, and being stripped of most comforts and conveniences can be something. I love what you’ve said, that if you can make it there with your spouse, cling to God and each other in those challenges, then everything else is a breeze! Thanks for sharing your experiences here, always appreciate your heart and wisdom

  6. Great Blog post. I tool a personality test and found that I was so far an Introvert, I think from all of the people in the class’s 20 year history, I made history for being so far Introverted. Great suggestions on how to mesh personalities that really attract each other otherswise we would not have married our mates. Great Post!

    1. Lincoln I would never have guessed you are an introvert! I think you must be a “C” type ..lol, (like my husband) because your teaching is so motivated and focused! 🙂
      Amen to working to become one, even in our different personalities. Thanks for reading and commenting

  7. Well, lookie there! You quoted me, Ngina! I just had a little extra time today (a rare thing in my life these days) and came by because the title intrigued me. What a blessing, sweet friend! Now to the subject of your post, I am definitely more the introvert than my hubby is. So even though I can be pushy and like to take control in certain situations, I tend to remain calmer, desire to keep things peaceful and avoid rocking the boat–all things my husband zips past with lightening speed to “fix the wrong being committed!” I do so appreciate his desire to make things better and to fight for what is right, but very often this is where we clash and argue. I’ve learned to be quieter and more submissive when my hubby is chomping at the bit to change the world as well as braver when it comes time to address the issues at hand. Your post today reminds me a wee bit of my video I posted yesterday. Great minds think alike, I’d say! Praying for your book, my friend! I hope you’re making lots of progress. 🙂

    1. You are most welcome Beth! I love your blog and the great insights you have for us.
      It’s such a “balancing act” sometimes, isn’t it? Our personalities are not so “cut and dry” and to know when to speak up and press through or when to step back and submit is a journey! at least it has been for me..lol! I am laughing reading that part about your husband chopping at the bit to change the world..i think my husband can identify with that sometimes! It’s so enlightening to me, (your comment) and an encouragement; learning when to be quieter and when to be brave.
      Thanks for asking about the book! It’s coming along great..infact i just handed it to the editor this past Monday!!! God is good! There’s still a lot of editing to be done but I am glad the big part of writing is over…sort of. Till the next book!
      Thanks so much for checking up on me on that and making time to read and share your encouragement. I appreciate you!

  8. My spouse is my perfect opposite. He’s strong where I am weak and vice versa. It’s not always “easy”. There are times it can be frustrating. But over the years we are learning to work as a team. And when things get too frustrating, I find that taking time to pray and step away from the issue helps me refocus and calm down.

    1. Tc, it’s so great to be able to look back in our marriage and see progress. I am glad you have grown. I like what you’ve said; praying, stepping back and refocusing, it makes a HUGE difference! Thanks so much for reading and sharing in the comments….i know how committed our schedules have become.

      1. Love your blog, Ngina. Always look forward to reading it. God bless.

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