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How We Adjust in Marriage

November 30, 2011

Extrovert-v-introvert

Let me start with a quick explanation of personality typing. Essentially there are four things we measure when we talk about a person’s “type”:

1. How they gain their energy while they interact with the world around them (Extravert or Introvert)

2. How they collect data (with the senses or the intuition)

3. How they react to the reality around them (with their mind or their emotions)

4. How they accomplish their goals (with patterns or with principles)

So you can have a person who is extraverted (meaning they feel more energy when interacting with other people) married to an introvert (someone who regains their energy by spending some quality time by themselves). This is a common pairing in marriage and generally the adjustments are slight over time. Usually, the longer an extravert and an introvert are married to each other, they will tend to adapt by coming closer to the middle. For instance, in the ten point scale I use to measure personality, I am a nine point extravert (five being the middle). Kathy was a 2 point Introvert on that same scale. That is what we were when we first married. Now, I am a seven point and she is a three point. We are moving closer to the middle.

What is even more intriguing are those situations where two people with the same characteristic marry each other. Let’s take two introverts. Both of these people like to have alone time to rejuvenate. But, over time, they balance each other out. The least introverted will actually begin to seek out people more. The most introverted will actually spend more time alone. Though I would have to do a bazillion hours of research to verify this, my guess is that most couples will eventually add up to “11” after 20 years of marriage.

How have you seen that in your relationship?

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2 comments

  1. I noticed this recently in our marriage. I am the more extroverted and yet have sought out more alone time to recharge. I even wondered if I was, perhaps, changing into an introvert. However, I am always recharged by people and will end up depressed alone. Hubby is the more introverted and is seeking out social situations, yet they tire him out as much as before. I would say our moves to the middle over our 19 year marriage support your supposition!


    • Thanks for your input Wendy. It helps to see how and why we change in our marriages.



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