Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Split Personality Disorder

This past Sunday with my youth group, we talked about personality as a means to understanding the person God has made each of us to be. It ended up leaning to quite an interesting conversation with Melissa about our individual personalities and how they affect our marriage.

Genesis defines marriage as two people becoming one flesh...and the two people can really rub each other the wrong way. Suddenly everything is shared, decisions have to be made together, you actually have to talk about your feelings and you spend alot more time together. Given the amount of change that happens in a relationship once two people get married, I think it's safe to say that that this new "one-flesh unit" struggles with a good dose of personality disorder. Melissa and I found the following to be really helpful in understanding ourselves better (not completely of course) and understanding why we might have struggles or areas where we seem to get along great.

Each persons personality is made of four different aspects of life:

1) How do you get energized?
- Extroverted - meaning being around people fills you up
- Introverted - meaning being alone fills you up.

2) How do you process information?
- Sensing - meaning you look for facts, things that can be determined with your five senses
- iNtuitive - meaning you look for abstract things and process theories

3) How do you make decisions?
- Thinking - meaning a factual process of A+B=C
- Feeling - meaning emotion based and more sympathetic

4) How do you live your life?
- Judging - meaning you like structure, plans and order
- Perceiving - meaning you like to go with the flow and spontaneity

Each persons personality is based upon those four categories and how they work as a combination.

My type is an INFJ and one of the descriptions explained that I have a "mysterious, intricately woven personality which sometimes puzzles even them." Which explains a lot and why I have a hard time sharing with Melissa about what I'm thinking and feeling - I tend to not even know myself. It frustrates Melissa to no end. "What do you mean you don't know how you feel?" she asks. She thinks I'm nuts that I can't figure out sometimes what is going on inside of me. But this test really helped her understand that I'm not holding back anything from her..it's just part of my personality that I need to work with.

Melissa, is an ISNTFJP...yep, that's right...when she took the test her scores all tied on every catagory except for the Introvert/Extrovert. She is wholly and completely an Introvert!! However even though her tied scores were unusual...and she joked that maybe it just meant she is crazy....the results of the test really made sense. She is very much emotional, go with the flow, and spontaneous; but her parents were very serious, factual, planned, and organized. She said she feels an internal struggle all the time...sometimes she needs things planned...sometimes not...sometimes she makes logical decisions...and sometimes not. It's sooo fun for me trying to figure out which planet she's on!

We read through the more detailed personality descriptions though and eventually decided she was an ISFP - she picked which ones she felt were stronger. Our differences explained a lot of the struggles we have given how I like things structured, ordered and planned and she likes to go with the flow. I process information abstractly, she processes information with her senses which plays itself out nicely as we evaluate life and how we see our relationship. There are pluses as well! We work together in some areas great by balancing each other out.

I would highly suggest for you all to take a personality test and explore about the way you are wired. It may lead to some interesting discoveries about your relationships and provide some hope that you're not crazy or messed up but just simply different.

To take a test and learn more, check out www.keirsey.com. Or, you can send me an e-mail (pastorjake10@gmail.com) and I can give you a test to take...

Have fun with it!


Crazy quote of the week:
Jake- "What about zoo's?" (in reference to a date night idea)
Melissa - "Zeriously?"

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Our goal of this blog is to share stories (both good and bad), thoughts and insights about our marriage and we would love for you to jump into the conversation.

The goal is to provide three things:
1) HOPE for struggling couples that they are not alone.
2) GROWTH in our marriages and our understanding of marriage.
3) ENCOURAGEMENT to keep loving your spouse unconditionally.