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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Primitive Pleasures {May}

MayOne of the very best things about this May is having a mini family reunion this weekend to celebrate the marriage of my cousin. Since not everyone gets to enjoy such a fun gathering, here are some other good things trolled from the interwebs this month.

Simplicity:

People who chronically multitask have lost the ability to focus on one thing – and they’re actually terrible at mutlitasking…. Interesting article on NPR (man I love public radio) about the myth of multitasking.

When -est should be -er and how that gives us the freedom to live simply.

Books:

I’m a book list junkie. Relevant Magazine has a great list of 10 books everyone should read by 25-ish. I think one of them might be our first book club book. Have you read any of them?

I love Heather’s idea to reinvent what classifies as classic literature for her 25 in 25 list.

Michael Hyatt’s podcast about how to read non-fiction was inspiring.

Marriage:

A New Kind of Sexy is honest and we need more of that when talking about marriage.

So we fought for it. We stumbled on redemption in the unlikely sexy acts of taking out the smelly-diaper trash, going to marriage counseling, and texting each other apologies for misspoken harsh words.

Beth of Red and Honey

And more honest reflection from Tyler Ward with 3 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got Married.

Etc:

I’ve been there – wanting someone to fully understand why I left my heart overseas…

Because I’m a sucker for articles about the twenty-something stage of life – here’s a good one by Anne Bogel.

Hysterical iMessage version of Chapter 5 in Jane Austen’s Persuasion. 

I LOVE McGriddles. Can’t wait to try these.

Primitive Pleasures {March}

He is risen! {happy Easter to you all…}

I’m enjoying the glorious warm weather of Southern California and the company of my SoCal family and friends, so Primitive Roads will be dormant for the coming week. However, I did want to leave you with a few things to spark your creativity, challenge your soul, and feed your stomach.

Enjoy this March edition of Primitive Pleasures {if you’re new, hop over to February’s for an explanation}. I’ll be back next week celebrating the release of Shauna Niequist’s new book, Bread and Wine.

Primitive PleasuresHomemade

My mom and I have developed a serious addiction to Sally’s Baking Addiction – a food blog that features a soon-to-be-married gal’s mouthwatering photos, reliable recipes, and kitchen inspiration. My mom sent Tim and I a batch of Soft Baked Monster Cookies which were incredible and then she teased me with photos of the Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookie’s she whipped together. She then went on a Sally’s Baking Addiction rampage and made Oatmeal Lemon Creme Bars, Caramel Snickers 7 Layer Bars, and Skinny Banana Blueberry Muffins {all of which I was able to sample yesterday – oh my…}.  One thing I love about SBA is that all the recipes turn out looking exactly like her photos.

Cookies

Afternoon tea is a lost art. Even in it’s simplest form, serving tea with small sweets and savories is hospitable, warm, and gracious. I grew up going out to tea and throwing tea parties so seeing this post about Cucumber Sandwiches {a popular tea sandwich I originally disliked but have grown to love} brought back good memories. Marie does a wonderful job of explaining and illustrating this delicious tea classic.

I adore granola. Something about the nutty, crunchy, sweet combination just does it for me. Making your own granola is so easy and so customizable. Design Crush collated a Grouping of Granolas that is totally mouthwatering. Plus, she included my recipe for Gingerbread Granola!

Soul Stirrings

Jamie Harper‘s heart for God and for women is evident in all that she writes over at Brown Paper and Strings. Read this and be assured that you are seen!

For those who have been burdened by the notion that their marriage just isn’t Christian enough, Heather King of Extraordinary Ordinary has some truth you need to hear!

Do you know what I expect? When you tell God that you feel like you’ve been run over by a truck and you are only able to say that much, I think He sits down with you, on the ground and He waits. Isn’t that what you would do if it were one of our kids? And then they’d find their energy again and wouldn’t you respond like lightening, putting your hand under their arm, lifting them up?

{read the rest here}

Some very true observations about us twenty and thirty-somethings by Elizabeth Hyndman.

The Creative

I’ve never met Katie of The Cardigan Way in person, but I like her a lot! She recently launched the Cardigan Way shop which has some of her Lovely Lines {book quotes} printed for decor purposes. I’m hoping she comes out with notecard versions soon… {hint hint}.

One of my next craft projects is making one of these food passports for Coeur d’Alene!

Have a wonderful week!

I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer of HopefulLeigh.

How To Have A Money Date

A Money DateA couple weeks ago, Tim and I payed off all our credit card debt. It was a joyous occasion with much merriment and some living room dancing {um, more from me than Tim}. The next week, we had all of these overly adultish things happen at once. Being debt free was short-lived due to root canals and tax surprises. Those unexpected expenses were the best thing that could have happened to our finances, despite the damper they put on our recent freedom.

That sounds utterly absurd, but those expenses forced us to finally sit down and have a serious chat about our budget – a Money Date as I like to call it. {I’m capitalizing here because I really think it should be a recognized proper noun :) }

Money Dates are the best thing you can do for your finances because talking about money  is the first step to financial health. You have to communicate to make money work for your family and your budget. Plus, the date aspect makes financial planning fun – well, at least more fun that it would be without the date part.

Our Money Date

Tim and I wanted to be more intentional about how we spend our money, so our Money Date revolved around building a detailed budget. We are excited to take on April expenses with this new structure in place, though our budget system is by no means revolutionary. We haven’t taken Financial Peace, but we believe in Dave Ramsey’s money principles. So, we created a budget that snowballs debt (which for us includes Tim’s student loans), creates an emergency fund, and leaves a zero balance at the end of each month.

We happened to be staying in a beautiful cabin in Montana last weekend, which was the perfect setting for our Money Date. A large fire roared as we snuggled into the couch with blankets, tea, dessert, and a spreadsheet. A calculator came in handy, too! The atmosphere made a somewhat stressful topic seem less daunting.

 

How To Have A Money Date

Here are our recommendations on having a successful Money Date:

  • Who: Just you two. This is a great time to build intimacy as you work together to examine spending habits, fight financial woes, and create a budget. The less distractions the better.
  • What: Both Tim and I think Money Dates work best when they are part of a shared experience. You want to already be relaxed and having fun. This could be a day trip, a hike, a few hours in a coffee shop… Whatever you do, make the experience feel special and work in time to discuss your finances. The fun will make finances less burdensome. 
  • Where: If you can avoid distractions in your home, being alone is really nice. However, a cozy coffee shop or secluded restaurant booth would work nicely as well. Just be sure you can camp out for a while. Tim mentioned it’s nice to be in neutral territory where you wouldn’t incorporate past discussions or stressful associations into an already sensitive topic.
  • When: Be wise and know thyself. Pick a time when both of you will be alert and happy. Don’t force your night-owl husband to go on a sunrise hike then expect him to settle in to a cheery discussion about finances over a latte. That won’t end well.
  • Why: Communication, communication, communication! It’s so important to get everything out in the open – bank statements, credit card debt, receipts, pay stubs, etc. If you don’t have a budget, make one. If you do have a budget, evaluate how it’s working. Money Dates are for you to communicate and get on the same page about your finances. It’s not you against your spouse because of finances; it should be you and your spouse against your finances. 

Tim and I built our budget using Mint – it’s free and you can access it on any electronic device. After importing your bank accounts, Mint will categorize all your transactions and keep track of your spending in an easy to read chart. If we weren’t using Mint, we would probably be doing the envelope maneuver {putting cash for each budget category in envelopes and purchasing everything from those envelopes}.

We plan to have weekly or bi-monthly {haven’t decided yet} mini Money Dates to go over our budget and see how our spending is adding up.

After lots of calculating costs and allocating funds, we were pleased to have a solid budget as a result of our date. Though we have always been of similar mind about money, both of us kept saying we wished we had had this detailed of a discussion at the beginning of our marriage. It’s surprisingly liberating to live on a budget.

Have you ever been on a Money Date? What are your strategies to keep money from creating marital conflict?

photo credit: donbuciak via photopin cc
photo credit: 401(K) 2013 via photopin cc

How To Make Time For Quality Time

The Sweetness of Our Marriage

At the beginning of our relationship, Tim and I didn’t have trouble spending time together. It didn’t take long after we started dating to make it a priority to see each other every day. Sometimes that meant a little sacrifice and inconvenience: I dropped by his house for a few minutes after youth group or he would get up early to see me at work before heading to school. Aside from trips that took us out of town, we continued this trend of daily face time into our engagement and our marriage.

Time is an essential ingredient for building any relationship. It takes time to get to know someone. It takes time to invest in someone. It takes time to produce intimacy. It takes time to maintain what you have worked to build. Marriage is one of the most important relationships to preserve and keep healthy, which requires time.

It seems like being married would make spending time as a married couple easier, right? I haven’t found that to be the case…

Being married does mean you get to live with your love, but it also means that real life is now inseparable from your romantic relationship. You can’t really escape into the fairy tale of boy-meets-girl when you also have to make your marriage exist on a practical level.

For me, that reality looks like bills making going-out dates less frequent, a messy house distracting me from cuddling on the couch, and our daily routines taking the place of intentional time together. We may have more time in the same place (does sleeping count?), but it takes purposeful planning to make that time feel like quality time.

I travel for work. (You can find out more about my work in this post.) This is immensely fun for me, but has been an interesting dynamic to navigate as a newlywed. Not only are we adjusting to life as a married couple, but I am gone a third of each month. My time away has not been detrimental (though it has the potential) to our marriage, however, it makes me very aware of how we spend our time when I’m home.

Even if quality time isn’t your love language, it’s necessary to give it and receive it for a marriage to thrive. (<– Tweet this!) For Tim and I, the actual quality time isn’t difficult to generate, it’s finding the time for the quality time. We can’t just let quality time form itself or it won’t happen as often as it should.

How To Make Time For Quality Time

Here’s how we make quality time an intentional part of our marriage:

  • Communicate! I get a detailed calendar of Tim’s schedule for the week on a regular basis. This helps me not to build false expectations of the time we get to spend together when I’m home. (Amy Lynn Andrews has a great post on how to create a weekly schedule using Google Calendar.)
  • Plan – Using that calendar, plan the time that you will turn into quality time. You don’t necessarily have to plan what you’ll do, but if you don’t plan on it, it rarely happens.
  • Just Say No – Once you have a plan, stick to it. This may mean you have to turn down other offers. No is difficult to say, but quality time with your spouse is worth prioritizing.
  • Evaluate – Sit down with your spouse and evaluate all the activities and groups you are involved in. Are they all necessary? Do they add to your quality of life or do they take away your valuable quality time with each other? Make the necessary adjustments.
  • Get Away – Sometimes you just need to get away from your everyday environment to secure that quality time. Tim and I have made it a priority to get out of town every couple months. Even if it’s just in a neighboring city, not having the distractions of home is really positive.

Quality time is important in every season of marriage! Each stage of life will come with different distractions and obstacles. While I’m still a newlywed, I want to make quality time a habit.

How do you make time for quality time in your marriage?