A thinker and a feeler

Lindsey is an emotional person. For some of you, this is not news. In fact, for any one who has spent any time with her, you probably knew this right away.

The funny thing is, I am too. Now, that might surprise some people. Anyone who has seen me at work or observed how I engage in the study of theology might be very surprised. But, it’s true.

I’ve been a big fan of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator since college. It is a framework for categorizing and understanding personality types. You can click through to the site above for more info, but basically it defines four aspects of personality and categorizes you in one of two opposing types. The combination of the four indicators are your type. I am, for example an ENFP– Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeler, Perceiver. My type is summarized as:

Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. See life as full of possibilities. Make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceed based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency.

Lindsey is a Feeler as well, but she was shocked to find out that I am too. We joked about it, but honestly she is on the extreme end of that type and I am borderline Thinker/Feeler. Compared to her, I look like I’m straight ‘T’.

Why do I bring this up? Well, because in the last few weeks as we have dealt with big questions and decisions about the future this difference is really apparent. I may categorize as a Feeler, but I’m still my Dad’s son. Is there are problem in front of us? Okay, identify the options, look for pros and cons, then make a decision. Honestly, when it comes to dealing with decisions or problems I am starting to realize that the nuclear family I came from could have stolen Nike’s ad slogan, “Just Do It.” It’s how I was brought up.

At times I do struggle with the emotional parts of the decision. I am always cognizant of people involved in a situation, and  how they see the world. My ENFP type tends to be exceptional at empathetically seeing the world from another’s perspective. All of these are inputs for me, but at the end of the day I am driven to act– to decide.

Lindsey is not indecisive, but she does approach decisions and questions differently. I rarely let emotions dictate what I do, but it does inform why I do what I do. For my wife, emotion is much, much more of a driver.

This has led to frustrations lately. Even tonight we had a very small question of how to do something and I wanted to pipe up with that slogan. I wanted to tell her, “Just do it. Get it over with.” But I didn’t. I knew that there was no reason to push her. She dealt with it and we moved on. No harm, no foul.

But some things are not as easy. Sometimes I see a very clear and logical path forward. She looks at the same question and sees emotions– hers, others, mine. Neither is right or wrong. No honestly, I mean that. After all I am a Feeler, I get it. But, it isn’t always easy to come to a decision when two people approach it so differently. But, we’re learning. After all, I didn’t offer the unhelpful advice that I would have a month ago.

That’s progress, right?