The problem solver

Brian is a problem solver in the truest sense of the term. He delights in the critical thinking and deep thought. He revels in the research. And you should see his face when the solution is discovered and the problem has been fully conquered– it’s this exaggerated mix of pride and happiness. He’s not simply a problem solver, but rather, a problem vanquisher.

It’s pretty fun to watch when the problem is of the hands-on variety. Sometimes the solution is MacGyver-esque, and other times he rivals Superman (not the flying part as much as the super-strong part). He’s handy with tools and has mastered the watching of YouTube how-to videos. With determination and a dash of stubbornness, he is going to get the job done.

Issues arise when the problems are interpersonal. There’s no how-to video to fix a conflict we’re having, no hand-tool to make me agree with him. I can see it in his face– he wants to fix it so badly. But, there’s no way to get through it other than talking it out, praying through it, compromising, or concession.

It is even more frustrating for this problem solving man when the interpersonal problems are between me and someone else. He even posted about it. I’ll come home and want to tell Brian all about my day. But he doesn’t want to just sit and listen, he wants to SOLVE. He has ideas and questions and advice and solutions– but in that moment, I don’t want to hear it. I want him to listen and comfort and be on my side. Sometimes I am later amenable to the solving, but sometimes I’m not. This frustrates my dear, sweet husband who wants to fight my fights and protect me from all harm.

I admire this quality in Brian, even as I pick on him for it. His brain and his heart want to fix, solve, settle, and resolve. There was a Henry Ford quote in a reading selection I was teaching last week. Ford said, “Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them.” That’s me. I dwell on a problem. I obsess about a problem. I talk endlessly about a problem. I think all the way around a problem. Brian thinks through them.

As we live this life together, I hope and pray that this trait of his will rub off on me. While I don’t feel the need to tackle a clogged drain on my own, I would like act less like a doormat in conflict. I want to change my thinking so that I don’t dwell on the problem and move towards the seeking of a solution much sooner than later.

He’s got a lot to teach me, and I’ve spent 28 years this way, so Brian’s got his work cut out for him. But I’m sure he’ll find a solution 😉

Brian and Jill– MacGyver-ing the wine last night when the cork popped INTO the bottle… problem SOLVED!!!

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