Between my own personal growth, seminary requirements, and other professional training that I have been through, I have had to do a number of psychological and personality assessments. There are some people who find these incredibly helpful while other think that they are a sham. Having seen their influence in my own life and their helpfulness in viewing others around me, I would find myself in the first group. While they are certainly not to be taken as “gospel” and the end-all-be-all of self-understanding, I have always found them helpful.
If you have never taken any personality profiles or assessments, I would encourage you to do so. Personally, I have taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator multiple times, StrengthsFinders a number of times, as well as various others like the PI and others. A week before my wife and I were married, nearly 12 years ago, we went through a seminar and workshop that involved both the Myer-Briggs and the StrengthFinders assessments. It seems like a day does not go by where we make reference to it with ourselves or with others with whom we interact. If nothing else, they have been an incredibly helpful tool for us to understand each other.
A brief example to contextualize this is in order. My wife is a fairly strong “P” in the MBTI (Myers-Briggs - Perceiving) while I have generally been a strong “J” (Judging). One of the strongest examples of this to make it understandable is that, as a J, I need closure. I can’t leave a lot of things left open and undone or it will frustrate me. If I lose something, I need to find it “right now.” If it’s midnight and something is unfound, I will search high and low for it. As a P, my wife can be a lot more free about things like this than I can. If she loses something, she just figures that it will turn up.
In nearly 12 years of marriage, we’ve both come to understand the other enough that the difference has caused us to be more compromising and complementary to each other (at least I think so). Case in point was last night, my wife brought our middle child to a birthday party and when we met up later on, she was unable to find her phone. She didn’t seem too disturbed by the fact that she couldn’t locate it while I was ready to go out and tear the car apart to see if it turned up. My wife, in all her graciousness, asked me if I wanted her to go outside (in the dark) and look for the phone in the car. I told her that we could wait until morning.
This morning, I called the place where the birthday party was to see whether someone had turned in a phone. I was ready to drive by the parking lot to see if I saw anything on the ground. My wife just continued to go about her other responsibilities. While I was on my way to search the parking lot, my phone rang and I saw that it was my wife’s cell phone. I answered and she told me that she had found it in the diaper bag, which she hadn’t even had with her. Scratching my head, I realized that I had thought to look there last night, but it seemed illogical that it would be there. Just goes to show me that I need to go with my gut.
Anyway, I guess I can chalk another one up for the P’s of the world. Getting frustrated about a lost item has never really benefitted me while my wife’s patience will probably help her live longer. All this to say, at the end of the day, I think we understand each other better. In psychological terms, we do our best to be self-actualized. Today will come and go and there will be more days ahead of lost things, my wife and I will continually to be different people, but we can better understand each other when we see how God knit and formed us together. Like I said, these profiles and assessments have been helpful to me and my wife. If you haven’t taken any before, I encourage you to check them out, I would be surprised if they didn’t help you in some way or another to understand yourself and those around you as well.