Maybe that wasn’t the best tactic, after all?

Have you ever entered into a conversation with a loved one, only to have it turn into something very negative?

A while ago, DH and I were talking about Christmas traditions that each of our respective families celebrated when we were growing up. If I had to characterize the differences, it would be best to say that the celebrations in my family where more Christ-centered, while DH’s family was more family-centered. That’s not to say that my family ignored the family aspect of Christmas and it’s not to say that DH’s family ignored the Christ aspect of Christmas, but it is to say that the emphasis was placed differently and we both have pleasant memories of Christmas and want to bring both of our traditions to the plate and meld them seamlessly.

So that’s how the conversation started. It finished not so civilly.

It’s no secret that DH and I are in different places on our spiritual journey, couple that with our personalities and you get a hot mess. According Myers-Briggs typology, I am an ESTJ. If you know me personally, that should not be a surprise. For those of you not well acquainted with me here are some ESTJ characteristics:

ESTJs are practical, realistic, and matter-of-fact, with a natural head for business or mechanics. Though they are not interested in subjects they see no use for, they can apply themselves when necessary. They like to organize and run activities. ESTJs make good administrators, especially if they remember to consider others’ feelings and points of view, which they often miss. (Myers-Biggs description, emphasis mine.)

ESTJs are civic-minded individuals who dedicate themselves to maintaining the institutions behind a smooth-running society. They are defenders of the status quo and strong believers in rules and procedures. ESTJs are outgoing and do not hesitate to communicate their opinions and expectations to others. (Keirsey description, emphasis mine.)

ESTJs thrive on order and continuity. Being extraverted, their focus involves organization of people, which translates into supervision. While ENTJs enjoy organizing and mobilizing people according to their own theories and tactically based agendas, ESTJs are content to enforce “the rules,” often dictated by tradition or handed down from a higher authority.

ESTJs are joiners. They seek out like-minded companions in clubs, civic groups, churches and other service organizations. The need for belonging is woven into the fiber of SJs. The family likewise is a central focus for ESTJs, and attendance at such events as weddings, funerals and family reunions is obligatory.

Service, the tangible expression of responsibility, is another key focus for ESTJs. They love to provide and to receive good service. The ESTJ merchant who provides dependable service has done much to enhance her self image.

ESTJs have an acute sense for orthodoxy. Much of their evaluation of persons and activities reflects their strong sense of what is “normal” and what isn’t. ESTJ humor is frequently centered around something or someone being off center or behaving abnormally. (from typologic.com, emphasis mine)

Also, according to typelogic… Simon Peter was a type ESTJ.

So where does this lead us? Well, DH is not an ESTJ and in fact it would be great if he would find out his typology! But he won’t because he’s not a big fan of that “mumbo-jumbo.” 🙂

But what did I learn?

1. I am not the boss of others.

2. I cannot impose my will on others.

3. Jesus met people where they were. So should I.

4. God is sovereign and has an ultimate plan that I neither need to know nor am obliged to know the details of.

Now, I know all of this, but it does not make it any easier! I see husbands that are involved with their church and are Catholic/ Christian not just on Sunday and I can’t help but think how great that would be for our family if we were truly united in the faith… if only my husband was as on fire as I am for Christ and for His church. But he is not and no amount of talking, chiding, nagging, conversing, suggesting will change that.

Man does not have the ability to change the heart of another… only Christ can do that.

Do we attend Mass at least 98% of the time as a family? Yes.

Is my husband a good man? Yes.

Does my husband believe in the existence of Christ? I think so.

So, why isn’t that good enough?

I blame my personality.
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9 Comments

Filed under Catholic, challenge, family, fathers, holidays, husband, marriage, monday

9 responses to “Maybe that wasn’t the best tactic, after all?

  1. somebody's wife

    Weeeelll in our house there is “Mass as a family” 0% of the time.

    Otherwise our husbands sound a lot alike.

    I have taken the tactic to stay out of hie spiritual life entirely. My only jobs, as I see it, are to #1 Pray for him and #2 Work on my own spiritual development (also known as “I try to learn better how not to be an a–.”)

    But I gotta tell you, Christmas is Difficult. Every. Year.

    • Somebody’s Wife: This comment made me laugh… especially the part where you equate spiritual development as trying learn how NOT to be an a$$. It’s wrong to say that I am glad that I am not alone in the spiritual struggle, but I know that couples everywhere make it work… even over the holidays. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. cinhosa

    I agree with your points. As an ENFJ myself, I get the idea of wanting to control…well everything.

    One book I found useful in these situations where you are passionate about something and your spouse has another point of view is called Crucial Conversations.

    God bless!

  3. Mary

    We’re on different pages here too, but a lot of our values and goals are the same. I take a deep breath and try to be grateful for the moments where we come close together, and for when he surprises me. I think Meyers-Briggs would have something to say about your DH not “falling in line” and the reasons that is a problem for you rather than a problem period.

  4. Mary

    PS – As a teacher who has done Meyers-Briggs, True Colours and Multiple Intelligences and other personality tests for EVERY SINGLE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT SESSION EVER, I can tell you that a lot of it is mumbo jumbo and is based on reinforcing our own impressions/ideal versions of ourselves rather than who we actually are. E.g. In True Colours, people tend to be “orange” and “blue” because adventure and feelings are cool and interesting and likeable – order (gold) and logic (green) are not as cool.

    • I remember we first did M-B when I was teaching… and come to think of it, I think we did it in Grad School during one of my psych classes as well. I am sure a ton of it is just self reinforcing, but it does make for great conversation starters! Could you imagine? “Hi, I’m Karianna and I am an ESTJ!” Bwahahaha!

  5. I typically go with Keirsey’s descriptions, but my type is right on! (I’m an INFJ) I’ve also tested people with it and then read up on their descriptions before I let them see them lol and truly, it turns out to be quite truthful. I even know a woman who has very little “relating” skills with her interpersonal ones, and she likes to figure out what type people are so that she can figure out how she needs to relate to them.

    But enough of that. My patron saint is Saint Monica – talk about an issue with husbands! Hers was pagan, adulterous, bad tempered, wouldn’t let her children be baptized, etc. Through her years of prayers and good examples, he eventually converted to the faith and quit running around on her. I do tend to think about her when there is a family issue going on for me. http://stmonica.sageandchocolate.com/ Just a thought 🙂

    • Thank you so much for commenting! I have to say, I am feeling very humbled by this outpouring of support! St. Monica is often on my mind because she has been there and look at all of the good that came from her prayers! Without her, we wouldn’t have St. Augustine! Sometimes I think that prayer just isn’t enough but God has shown time and time again that it is (thinking of St. Therese as well.)

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