Myers-Briggs personality types and your marriage
Just wondering if people know/care about what their and their spouses’ Myers-Briggs personality types are and how that affects your marriage. I realize some people see no value in MB but for some people our type profile really resonates with us. What are the MB personality types for you and your spouse and how do your personality types seem to affect your relationship (either sexually or non-sexually)?
My type is ENFP and my DW is ISTJ; we’re complete opposites. I’m extroverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceiving, and she’s introverted, sensing, thinking, and judging. We tend to share common values about religion, morality, politics, etc. and tend to enjoy many of the same things. I do think, however, being an ENFP makes me:
1. Want time with other people far more than she does (i.e., more social events).
2. Want more frequent experiences that feel “special” whereas she’s more okay with doing the same thing for fun over and over.
3. Better able (by her own admission) to share my feelings than she is.
4. Caught in a world of possibilities whereas she’s more grounded.
5. More up for anything whereas she is more hesitant to try new things; her comfort zone is much smaller.
Ultimately, being an ENFP with an ISTJ sort of feels like being a dog with a cat.
In many ways, I feel like it’s easy to relate to my 7 yr old daughter as an ENFP since an ENFP adult is in many a child who never grew up. ENFPs tend to be very philosophical while at the same time committed to being the court jester. ISTJs are more by the book about everything and tend to see rules as helpful rather than something to be laughed at.
Anyway, just wondering how personality type interplay works for other couples.
My DW and I took the Myer-Briggs Personality Test over 15 years ago now. It was very helpful to our struggling marriage at the time. we talked over it and made changes in our lives because of what it revealed to us. I would highly recommend the test to all couples. It has been so long now I will have to review my files to find those results. But, they did come with some counseling from a marriage and family professional that was very encouraging.
I come from a family who is rather…obsessed with the MB test. I appreciate the test because it helps me understand why people act the way they do (some of the time, anyway).
I am an INTJ and my husband is an ENFP. Apparently this is a somewhat common pairing; people make memes about it. 😅
Being in an introvert/extrovert relationship is definitely challenging, but other than that I think that we compliment each other well. We are opposites in many ways (my husband is significantly more emotional and sentimental than I am) but like SC said, I think that just makes us a better team. I’m not good at being sympathetic to people, but my husband is (F v. T). He’s not good at organizing things or remembering details, but I am (J v. P).
My personal opinion on the subject: I have taken part in a Myers-Briggs personality assessment course (the company I work for did this for some of the employees “to improve departmental communication”) and I think the whole thing is utterly useless. It will not give you any useful bit of information about the success or happiness of your marriage. My wife and I share some personality traits while we are very different in other respects; the MB test would not even scratch the surface of the complexity and depth of any meaningful personal relationship. Of course you may find it entertaining as its so generalized that nearly anybody would find something true and fitting about its categories, but if you filter out the fluffy pop-psychology nonsense, you’ll find absolutely nothing underneath.
I’m a sceptic. I’ve not studied this area much, but the basic reading I did suggested that Myers Briggs (and most other similar personality type tests) is pretty unreliable, with something like 40% of those who take the test again being put into a different group despite being the same person.
These things are periodically quite trendy and there seems to be as much pseudoscience as there is real science.
While I agree at some level with David and Tantalum that there is limited knowledge to be gained from Myers-Briggs testing, I do think it has some use. This is especially true when you’re given a numerical value for “how much” you are of each type. Semi-quantitative values like that are so much more useful, particularly since most of the population is close to the 50/50 cutoff on at least one of the 4 metrics.
Both Zelda and I are ISTJ’s. People have communicated to us that being so similar doesn’t make sense and they couldn’t imagine being in a marriage like that. But it works quite well for us. I would be constantly worn down emotionally by an extrovert if I lived with them. However, marrying your complete Myers-Briggs opposite doesn’t seem to be uncommon at all, and I particularly see a trend of introverted women marrying extraverted men.
Also, there has been some discussion in this area on this forum in the past. See this thread: Do you use tools or tests to help understand yourself &/or your spouse better?
Edit: misspelled the first “Myers”
I appreciate them and enjoy doing them, because they help me understand myself. If I understand myself better, than it benefits our relationship.
We are ENFP (him) and ISTJ (me) also. This is how I view it…. if we look at each letter available in the Myers-Briggs as a finger on opposite hands, with no fingers missing, we have the opportunity to fist them and clash, or we can learn to interlock them and complement each other. Because my husband and I together, cover the whole spectrum of the M-B personality scale, we make a more complete “one”, if you know what mean, which gives us the ability to relate to others and minister to others in a fuller way. If one of us can’t relate to someone, the other can.
I am an INTJ. My wife I can’t remember, other than she is I-XX-J. We’re not terribly far apart though I am less “I” than she is. I think in many ways it makes us more likely to have conflict because often we are both convinced we’re right, though she is the most stubborn one.
I don’t know the value of those things. The people who put them together are sincere in there efforts. The key to results is the sincerity of the taker. And the testers all say there are spectrums within each type. No one is a true, full anything all the time. But with enough life experience with people, one starts to realize there are distinct preferences and tendencies that can be tracked and predicted. So there has to be some validity of such personality tests. Just don’t count them as Gospel, IMO.
I definitely get that MB seems like nonsense to a lot of people. I think for a lot of people, the profile of their type doesn’t seem to match who they are and there’s just not much of anything to take from it. For some people though, their tested personality’s profile fits them really well. When I read fairly in-depth profiles of what an ENFP is like, I’m nodding my head the whole way. My ISTJ wife, however, doesn’t really care much about MB one way or the other, and she has plenty of traits that go against the prototypical ISTJ.
Even if MB doesn’t have a lot of value for a lot of people, I do think it’s interesting and illuminating to consider the four opposite pairings on their own. Introversion and extroversion are obviously a big part of what defines a person’s personality. My wife gets stressed at the thought of being at a party with lots of people she doesn’t know. I get bored if I have to go a long time without meeting someone new or getting to know people I kind of know better. Thinking and feeling are also something that can rather quickly define a person’s personality. Although I’m an engineer, I am quite feeling-centered and have found that I’m happier and more myself when I make decisions based on my heart rather than my head. (I’m not saying I make dumb decisions because I always let me heart overrule my brain but rather that my heart has to consent to what the brain decides on decisions that need logic and in things that aren’t that consequential my heart is normally alone in the driver’s seat.) My wife is a very empathetic and not overly stoic person but she doesn’t tend to feel things like I do. I do think that the sensing vs. intuition is sort of an undervalued aspect of personality, and this is where my differences with my wife are most obvious. I tend to think in an abstract world of “what if”s and am constantly finding connections and analogies between things that may not seem related. When I observe something, I tend to not take in all the details of that thing but rather start letting what I observe get me asking myself what I’m thinking and feeling. I look for deeper meaning in almost everything. My wife, on the other hand, is very detail oriented. She remembers what something looked like or sounded like or tasted like. A lot of my memories about something I observed with my senses are really strong, but those memories are about what that thing made me think or feel, but I will very likely forget what colors were used or what particular words were used. My wife, on the other hand, will remember where something was, what color it was, how it sounded, etc. Her mind works much better as a photo album and a tape recorder than mine.