Wedding Vows

June 2020. Originally copyrighted and posted in "Type for Life" by the Center for the Applications of Psychological Type, Gainesville, FL. Used with permission.

Okay, I admit it, I'm getting a little bored with my safe-at-home status in my home state of Minnesota. I am not disagreeing with that status and fully intend to comply, but I need a little bit more variety to my life and a little levity too.

One can only do so many games of solitaire and mahjong on the computer and read so many mysteries and watch so many TV series (Call the Midwife, Father Brown, Unorthodox, the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, etc.)

And while walks in my neighborhood along the Mississippi River are lovely, others have found them that way as well, so social distancing sometimes gets tricky.

And I no longer get pleasure out of sorting sock drawers and closets. Yes, as an ESTJ, I usually enjoy anything I have to organize.

So what does this have to do with wedding vows! Well in thinking about organizing my computer files, I came across my wedding folder and began rereading the ceremony. I remarried last year so we're not talking about ancient history.

And so many of us have delightful stories of type differences in relationships. They've been my favorites whenever I've presented and some of the best examples of the "ah ha" moments that ground type and make it real.

To help set the stage…My husband, Frank, is an ENFP attorney. You may recall that I'm an ESTJ psychologist.

In Frank's vows to me, he promised…

  • To appreciate, our irreconcilable differences such as you're a carrot person and I'm a celery person; you're catsup and I'm mustard; you're gin and I'm anything but; and on the MBTI, you're an ESTJ and I'm an ENFP
  • To delight in our many adventures at home and all over the world, always discovering new places and revisiting favorites,
  • To know that you as a psychologist can't really read minds, even in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary,
  • To admire the certainty and confidence with which you give directions, even if occasionally unrelated to accuracy,
  • To experience with you the healing nature of our humor and laughter,
  • To keep up with all your activities and join in the fun.

As an ESTJ, my dominant function is extraverted Thinking which is about structuring as much of the world as I can and sounding quite confident in doing so. Yes, I can say, "turn here" with great confidence and be totally wrong!

I also like both planning and action and don't like to sit around for long. Before Covid-19, I was often organizing trips near and far.

With my introverted Sensing auxiliary, I've paid attention to the nuances of his communication patterns and his lifestyle so can often figure out what's on his mind.

Now contrast his vows to me with mine to him. Remember he's an ENFP whose dominant function is extraverted Intuition with his strong desire to generate possibilities and explore them. He rarely thinks about details such as how much time something will take or if he already has something scheduled to do.

His auxiliary function is introverted Feeling which is about compassion and empathy and being true to your values. I have learned to carry extra Kleenex because he tears up so often in movies, at church, listening to a poignant podcast, etc.

In my vows to Frank, I promised …

  • To love your incredibly compassionate heart and soul whether you are helping a pro bono client with a sticky legal problem or crying at a sentimental movie,
  • To adore your sense of humor and your fun-loving nature as we both stay on and wander off the paths wherever in the world we happen to be,
  • To take pleasure in holding your hand whether we are out walking or watching a bad movie together,
  • To delight in the silly games we play that bring us joy and fun no matter who ends up winning,
  • To be amazed at the energy you devote to so many different activities and causes even when your calendar management skills have led you astray,
  • To applaud you in whatever theater production you happen to be in, knowing that some of the plays are actually quite good
  • To be reminded there are so many different ways to drive anywhere and that some indeed are great shortcuts,
  • To relish your sense of adventure in choosing that unknown (but awful) dish in a restaurant simply because it is different,
  • To admire your enthusiasm and curiosity and hope that the last words I hear you utter are NOT, 'I wonder what happens when I push this button.'

So do you have your wedding vows to dust off to check for type differences? Do you have stories of your partner that show your personality type differences in a fun way? Please share them and bring some of your love and levity into all of our lives.