Becoming An Expert On My Introvert

My husband is a trooper when it comes to writing guest posts for Primitive Roads. When I did a series on community, he ended up writing What Jane Austen Taught Me About Community. So awesome. This round, I asked him to write a post about being married to an introvert, and here’s what he has to say… (I promise I didn’t ask him to be so sweet!)

Becoming an expert on my introvertI’ve taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test three times.  Twice for class, once for fun. You could say I like to learn about myself and how I think.  Each time I’ve taken the test, it usually says the same thing: I function as an introvert, but I have extroverted tendencies.

When it comes to social situations, I’d much rather stay home and watch a movie or spend time staring at my beautiful wife than be thrust into a situation in which I will have to chat-it-up with people I hardly know.  In fact, I try to avoid those situations if possible (which doesn’t quite work with my profession, a youth pastor).  However, when I can, I recharge alone or, preferably, with only my wife.  This works perfectly, because similarities attracted when my wife and I got together, as she is also an introvert.

You would think that two introverts being married is pure bliss, right?  Two people always ready to share alone space together, perfectly content with recharging in silence. However, Emily is not a borderline introvert like myself.  She is, as she has talked about on her blog before, a full-blown, internal processing, think-before-you-speak introvert.  And I love that about her. I love that she is intentional with her words. I love her processing face (yes, she has one). I love that she is happy simply sitting next to me for hours on end.  This definitely scratches my quality time itch.

But, because my introvertedness looks like extrovertedness compared to my wife, it occasionally produces situations in which my need for talkativeness and her need for silent processing clash.  I might be the first to desire a verbal “we’re ok” after an argument, and Emily might need to continue to think through her thoughts for the rest of the afternoon. Both are valid because both are in line with our personalities.

I have found that in order to communicate properly with my sweet introvert, I need to become an Emily expert.  I need to learn how she ticks, what she needs in order to process (time & space), and when to give her time to recharge.  The more time I spend with her, the more conversations we have regarding our temperaments, the more I get to know how she ticks and what she needs.  And yes, this goes both ways.  Each spouse should become an expert on the other person.

Being an expert on your spouse is very important.  For example:

  • I have learned that after a long day of meetings or other social interactions, I know that Emily needs time to sit in silence.  We’ll watch TV or read a book.  Usually her long days coincide with my long days, so we’ll both function as quality introverts.

  • Being an Emily expert, I know when she shouldn’t schedule meetings (after a long morning at church).  Being a Tim expert, Emily knows when I need to take a break from work.  We use our knowledge together to insure a more harmonized approach to life so we can both be healthy.

While Emily and I have personality differences (life would be boring without them), we work well together – which takes time, conversations, and a lot of grace.  I thank God that He gave me Emily.  She is a blessing to me everyday.  And I couldn’t imagine not being married to this amazing, introverted woman.

TimTim is living the newlywed life in Northern Idaho with his best friend, Emily (me!).  He’s a triathlete, coffee connoisseur, and trumpet/guitar/piano player. Seeing families connect with each other and with God is his passion.  He currently serves as the Youth Pastor at Coeur d’Alene Bible Church.

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7 thoughts on “Becoming An Expert On My Introvert

  1. What? Trumpet/guitar/piano playing Tim? Who knew? I bet next you’ll reveal that you sing amazing opera and play the violin. Thanks for sharing yourselves with us.You guys are awesome!

  2. Aww … this is beautiful! :) And thank you for the tip to remember for “when dreams come true”: become an expert on your spouse. That sounds like good advice. Thank you for sharing! Blessings to both of you …

  3. I routinely search google for articles on introversion and extroversion, and this came up on my search today because I am also Tim Gardner and write about this topic in the work environment.
    I enjoyed your advice here, and it is similar to the advice I give managers who struggle with anyone who is different than they are.We embrace differences, even though they often make fr challenging days.
    I look forward to reading both of your blogs going forward.

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