Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Opposites

Do you ever have a vague suspicion that you and your significant other are...well, opposites?

Not only do Brooke and I have vague suspicions, we have scientific (well, semi-scientific) proof.

Because we have both been working in mission organizations since before we were married, we have taken a battery of personality tests over the years.

Every time we take them, the test results come up with something along the lines of--one of us is a Golden Retriever-Otter, and one of us is a Beaver-Lion. Or one of us is a Montague and one of us is a Capulet.

Disclaimer*-- personality tests are helpful, but I hear people using them as excuses, as in, "I'm a ______(enter personality type) , and that is why I just did X"  Well, no, normally, that is a computer-generated definition of possible traits your personality may have. It is never an excuse. We try to use our tests as a starting point for improvement, not a rut to which a personality algorithim has doomed us to. 
Martyr's Shrine, Taipei, Taiwan
We knew before we got married that we had our differences. Thankfully, because we moved to Taiwan two weeks after we got married, and lived in a neighborhood where we hardly saw anyone we could communicate with beyond: Ni Hao: (hello) Babay (goodbye) and shishodyan tzai nali? (Where's the bathroom?) We basically spent a LOT of quality (and quantity) time together.

I like my coffee super hot. She likes it practically frigid, in my opinion. She likes cold leftovers. I do not. She eats disgustingly cold food in front of me just to see if she can induce dry heaves. Sometimes she has come close.

I go to bed. I fall asleep before my head hits the pillow. Brooke goes to bed. An hour later, she is still awake and thinking of hitting me with her pillow.

The year before we got married, I do not remember actually making my bed. I'm sure I did when I changed the sheets, but that wasn't super often either.

Organization is not my spiritual gift. Thankfully I never made much money before we got married, or the IRS would still probably be after me cuz I never would have gotten my taxes right.

Brooke, on the other hand, could probably organize the bureaucracy of a small country, and have time left over to take care of my sock drawer.

The problem of course being, if she came back a week later, not only would I probably have plunged the small country into bankruptcy, my sock drawer would already be a mess too.

The tests say I am an ENFP. I would tell you what Brooke is, but I can't remember where I put her results.

There is a prayer for ENFP's. It goes like this: "Oh God, please help me keep my mind on one thing...Oh, look! A bird!....at a time.

Basically, I am full of ideas, but not always interested in following through on them.

What I have found though, is that when we are willing to grit our teeth and work together, we truly can be greater than the sum of our parts. We can remain truly Montague and truly Capulet without that whole sad twist part at the end. (Google Leo Dicaprio with Claire Danes if you don't  know what sad twist part I'm talking about.)
Look! We worked together & we graduated from Tagalog School.
In many ways, Brooke is the spreadsheet that can correlate the dissonant clouds of my dreams. She shoots down the majority of them (which, surprisingly enough, she is almost always right about) but then she works with me on making the ones that are worthwhile come to pass.

We have found, over the last nearly 9 years, that we will never be the couple who seem to fit each other like a glove. We are, and always will be, extremely different.

But by harnessing the positives in our dissonance, we are able to work very efficiently as a team, when we're not arguing about whether or not we're being efficient.

Our relationship will alway be a complicated balancing act. I have to work at not being a head-in-the-clouds-would-rather-be-writing-poetry-person. Because, frankly, right now, the age of our kids requires much more prose than poetry.

And over the years of our marriage, I have (according to my wife) become a lot more organized, and sometimes I even (gasp) like it.

And Brooke has allowed a little disorganization in our lives, because that's what kids (and her husband) are like. And, she has gotten a lot more patient and laid-back in the process.

Together, we can do a lot! We may not be able to take over the world, but we might be able to organize the bureaucracy of a small country.

But, until those small countries come knocking, I'm gonna surprise my wife and go organize my sock drawer.

Vive la difference!


jms021117 said...

That it so cute. Happy you recognize your differences and embrace them, rather than try to change each other. Kudos to you on 9 years. We hope for many more happy years together for you two.

truthwillreign said...

Love, love, love it!!! It is a blessing and humorous encouragement to read your blog postings! I'm thankful that I know you both and I appreciate all that you share...and for making me laugh a little more often! Keep up the great writing!

Anonymous said...

We enjoyed and appreciated reading this so much. You two (who are "one")are a pair and I don't mean bookends. :>) God meant us to complete and compliment each other. Gran'pa & I are totally two different people. I'm "Brian" and he's Brooke. Though we've rubbed off on each other. After almost 61yrs. we've both changed, but still working on it. Eccl.4:9-12

Anonymous said...

BTW, what does ENFP stand for? could.:>) He said he didn't even know he was organizing; it's just what he does. I said to Gran'pa he'd get everyone else organized, too, if he could. :>)