The Life of Bon: Marriage Differences: As Defined by the Myers-Briggs Personality Test

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Marriage Differences: As Defined by the Myers-Briggs Personality Test

An ESFP in love with an INFJ.

There exists something in this world called the Myers-Briggs personality test.

It is a test that measures and breaks down four different parts of your personality.  There are four categories and a person is one of each category.  So you are either:

E- Extroverted- get energy from spending time with people or
I - Introverted- get energy by spending time alone,

S- Sensing- trust five senses to gather information or
N- iNtuitive- rely on intuition to gather information,
(N's are dreamers, S's are more about the here and now.)

T- thinking- make decisions based on logic and reason and not easily hurt or offended or
F- feeling- make decisions based on personal values and emotions, easily hurt.


J- Judging- more comfortable with scheduled, structured environments or
P- Perceiving- flexible and diverse, more comfortable with open, casual environments.

If you want more information (and more accurate information!) go here.  To take the test and see what you are, go here.

Almost every hurdle in my marriage can be traced back to this personality test.  I am an ESFP and I am married to an INFJ.  Greg and I are different in three of the four aspects.  Once I figured this out, it honestly made our marriage a lot easier.  Here's what the breakdown looks like and what it means for our marriage:

I am E (Extroverted) and Greg is I (Introverted).  I would say that this is probably the hardest difference in our marriage and one that we will be trying to reconcile until the day we die.  I don't think it'd be so tough if I weren't such an extreme extrovert.  I absolutely get my energy by being around other people.  Greg does fine around other people, but it drains him of his energy, and he needs alone time to refuel.  When I am alone my energy is depleting.  I never feel less energized than after I've been sitting around all day.  I feel lethargic and bored, whereas Greg feels relaxed and renewed.

What this means for us is a constant battle of how we spend our free time together.  I want to go out, Greg wants to stay in.  I want to throw a party with huge groups of people, Greg wants to hang out with just a few close friends. (Or even better, just watch a movie with the two of us at home).  I want to go to a restaurant, Greg wants to order in.  On our breaks I am constantly wanting to do something active and be surrounded by people- hikes, tennis, walks, museums, ANYTHING.  Greg begs to stay in and relax.  I am pretty sure this will be a perpetual argument of our marriage.  We both make compromises, but it continues to be hard.  Anytime I spend a beautiful Saturday inside I feel like the world is hurrying on without me.  Anytime Greg goes to a crowded venue with me his is worn out and miserable.  The other thing that has made this more difficult recently is that Greg now has an extremely extroverted job teaching rowdy high schoolers.  When he comes home from teaching, his energy is completed depleted for the day.  I, on the otherhand, am dying to get out, especially if it is a day that I have been home with June.  I keep very busy on my days at home managing the house and getting blog stuff done, but it is all introverted activities and by the time Greg gets home I'd do anything for some extroverted excitement.  These are usually the hardest days for us.  I have tried to start making sure that I have one extroverted activity on the days that I am home so that I am not an Energizer Bunny all over Greg by the time he comes home.

I am S (Sensory) and Greg is an N (Intuitive)  This is the difference in our marriage that I think is most beneficial to us.  Greg is an N- he sees the "bigger picture" while often forgetting about the mundane, every day chores of life.  S's are more caught up in the here and now, getting the stuff done that needs to be done right away, but often don't reach for those big dreams.  I short, N's are dreamers and S's are realists. I am an S to the max.  I get a lot of pleasure out of accomplishing the every day things- getting my oil changed, going grocery shopping, grading papers.  It feels like lots of mini accomplishments to me, and my days are always structured with big long to do lists.  Greg, on the other hand, feels weighed down by to do lists and the trivial chores of every day life.  The truth is, they depress the heck out of him.  He always has some grand vision in front of him, but the actual minute details of how to get to that "bigger picture" bog him down and bore him to death.  Without him I don't think I'd ever push for that big dream off in the distance.  Without me I don't think he'd pay the mortgage.

We are both Fs (Feelers.)  I love that Greg and I have this one in common.  Feelers are sensitive, and they make decisions based on how they feel about something.  Thinkers are much more logical and don't necessarily care about hurting others' feelings.  According to a thinker, if your feelings get hurt, it's your fault for being too sensitive.  Greg can always tell when I'm upset or bothered, and I likewise with him.  Because we are both feelers I think we try extra hard to accommodate each other and to not hurt each other's feelings.  We understand how bad it sucks.  I also love that I don't have to explain to Greg a decision when I say, "I just don't feel good about it."  Or "I know you didn't mean to do that, but it still feels that way."  We understand.  We don't get frustrated one with the other when someone is hurt because we know that's just kind of part of the deal with being an F.

I am a P (perceiver) and Greg is a J (judger).   Js like structure and rules and social protocol.  Ps like spontaneity and craziness and taking people by surprise.  Ps think rules are meant to be broken, Js value rules and feel safe with them.  This one continues to be a bit of a challenge for us, but I feel like we have both come a long ways and have kind of met in the middle.  I come from an entire family full of Ps and Greg comes an entire family full of Js.

I have shared this story before, but it is perfect to illustrate the difference in a P and a J.  A few months after we were married, we went to a movie with my side of the family.  Greg didn't understand why all of my aunts, uncles, and siblings thought it was okay to talk through the whole thing.

"I don't see anything wrong with it," I said, "I think it makes the movie more fun."
"This isn't your living room, Bon.  You are in a public setting."
"So what?  You can still talk when you leave your house."
"No.  Not in a movie theatre.  That's not following social rules.  It bothers the people around you."
"Oh.... I guess I never thought about the people around me."
"Exactly!  And you have to put your legs down too.  You can't just have your feet up on the seat."
"Yes.  And you can't kick the seat either."

He told me this after a movie experience that consisted of every possible thing a J could hate.  FIRST we arrived twenty minutes late because of poor driving directions.  THEN on our way into the theatre we saw my Aunt Reeta pop out of the theatre side door searching for her husband.  THEN we pretty much snuck into the theatre because the line was too long for us to wait for tickets, and we were already late.  THEN my mom kept talking to us in the theatre before remembering Greg's intense desire for silence while watching a movie.  THEN I started falling asleep in the movie.  THEN there was some candy being passed around the group that was a) snuck in from outside the theatre and b) in a very loud plastic bad.  THEN my mom answered a phone call in the theatre.  ("Hi Brother Jensen!  I'm in a movie, that's why I'm whispering!...")  THEN I forgot the rules and put my feet up on the chair in front of me.  Greg was mad that I had ruined the movie for him by not following social protocol, and I was mad that he had ruined the movie for me by being such a grump and not letting me talk through it.

Nowdays Greg has relaxed a little (he is okay with me sneaking treats into the theater) and I have learned not to talk in the theater.  He doesn't get embarrassed by me anymore when I yell obnoxiously in the middle of a grocery store and I have stopped cutting in line.  We're meeting in the middle, baby.

If you haven't already taken this personality test, you totally should.  Then you should make your significant other take it and then you can figure out exactly why you have the issues you do in your relationship.  Then comment and tell me all about it because I'm dying to know!

Fun fact:  My mom is the exact same personality type as me: ESFP.  She's about the easiest person in the world for me to get along with and understands me like no one else.

Another fun fact:  My bestie Amy is almost my exact same personality type which explains why we get along so well.  She's an ESTP.  The only difference is she's a thinker and I'm a feeler which is why I sometimes get my feelings hurt and she never does because she's not into feelings and stuff.  That's why I have Greg to be my feeler.

Some famous ESFPS:  John F Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, Hugh Hefner, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Pablo Picasso, Paul McCartney, Steven Spielberg, Katy Perry, Will Smith, Mel Gibson, Beyonce, Leonardo Dicaprio, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and Cameron Diaz.  A group of pretty fun people, I must say!


  1. I'm so glad you did a post about this! My husband and I just took the quiz. I'm an ISFJ and he's an ENTJ--almost total opposites! It was so fun to read about our differences. More than once, one of us said, "Ooooh! It all makes sense now!" :)

  2. I love this! Have you ever taken the Gallup Strengthsfinder test? Everyone at my work is required to take it, and it is so interesting to learn about our top 5 strengths.

  3. The last time I took this test (like 10 years ago) I was exact middle in everything! Honestly it explained where a lot of my difficulties lie because everything depends on the day for me and taking the test I was looking at my overall. Some days I want to stay in bed all day and others I need to get out before I lose my head. I need all the facts and every bit of research available when dealing with some issues and others I just wing it. I have trouble making decisions when the facts and my "heart" don't align because I lean both ways. My psychology teacher at the time said she had only met one other person who got exact middles like I did.

  4. I did just take it again and the only one that had any significant difference between the two options was J. Which honestly makes sense because in the last 10 years I've had to adapt to other people being solidly involved in my life (husband, 2 kids) which leads to a lot more planning and structure.

  5. I self-diagnosed myself as an INFJ but came out as an INFP. Which actually, when I've read the characteristics again, I've realised is totally correct!

    Pretty sure my boyfriend's an ISFJ which definitely gives me some things to think about to improve our relationship :)

    Little Miss Katy | UK Lifestyle & Fashion

  6. I am so glad you have feeling in common because it is an important one. I hate when my SO tells me it isn't his tone, but it is my fault for being overly sensitive.

  7. I can relate Greg! We are amongst the rarest haha and yes it can be fairly entertaining

  8. Katie Redd8:29 PM

    Okay, crazy, my husband and I just took the quiz and I am an ESFP and my husband is an INFJ. I'm tellin ya I feel like we are so similar!!

  9. Yes! You're exactly right - we've found that allowing each other to recharge in the way that we individually need to after our workdays lends itself to better conversations and funner (more fun, i know) times when we meet back up. I go to a class or a lecture or a party or out to dinner while he comes home and winds down and cooks or some other solitary activity. It's all SO interesting!

  10. Alison8:15 PM

    Hi Bonnie,

    I’ve never commented before, but I love your blog. I think you were in my teaching writing class at BYU several years ago. It’s always fun to read blogs from other teachers.

    Anyway, I love personality tests and my husband hates them. Well, it makes sense because we are also complete opposites. I have the INFJ personality (just like Greg!) and my husband is an ESTP. We’ve also been opposite on other personality tests like the Color Code. I am a blue personality and he is a red which is supposed to be the worst possible match. We do have tons of conflicts, but at the same time we complement each other in a lot of ways. He teaches me the value of “being productive,” I teach him the value of planning ahead and seeing
    the forest through the trees, etc.