A Complete Opposite Resorts to Drastic Measures
Summary: (wife-ENFJ: husband-ISTP)
Several years ago a wife came for counseling after she had left her alcoholic husband saying “When you quit drinking, I’ll return”. He was so shocked by her actions and promised to quit drinking. He begged her to come back. She said she would first want them to have counseling. They took the MBTI personality indicator and we had several good sessions on discovering their opposite personalities and repairing their relationship. After a few months he assured her that he had quit drinking altogether and she came home. Everything went well until recently.
Again, the wife sought counseling; “I want to leave him again but I don’t know if I can because he has stopped drinking. But, he lost his job and health benefits because he has been gambling and putting us into financial difficulties. He is also having serious medical problems but refuses to see a doctor. He’s bored at home and seems to be depressed like when he was alcoholic. He’s approaching retirement but doesn’t seem to understand that if he doesn’t get employment in the meantime we’re not going to make it. I’m working but do not get health benefits and insurance is extremely expensive. I want to do the right thing but I can’t continue with things as they are. I’m concerned about his physical and mental health. I’m wondering if ‘taking the bull by the horns’ will work again. I wanted him to come for counseling but he wasn't in favor of that."
Rather than resort to drastic measures and move out again and incur motel expenses, I urged her to review how their personalities differed. Complete opposites. An ISTP relies on facts and figures and needs plenty of time –because of Introversion--to consider options and adjusting opinions. Looking way down the road is difficult for Sensing Thinkers and Spontaneous persons dislike anyone telling them what to do. Conversely, ENFJ's, like this gal, find looking ahead very normal. Since Extroverts are usually more positive when facing problems they are able to share their dreams as well as legitimate fears.
We reviewed the importance of her using “I” statements rather than falling back on the easier accusing “you" statements. “Write out what you are concerned about in brief I statement sentences. Take half steps; inform him ‘Before I resort to something drastic like before, I’d like to chat with you about my concerns when you are ready.’ “When he comes to talk, you’ll know he is willing to listen. That’s adult to adult communication.”
I also asked her to share my concern about his medical problems and that I’d like very much to see him again.“ A Thinker regards information more seriously when two people he respects have agreed upon requests. She emailed a few days later that he came to talk. She presented all the facts to him—on paper--and assured him that she loved him and wanted to accompany him to see a doctor to address his medical issues; encouraged him to find a part time or full time job to meet their financial needs as well as resolve his boredom problem. She would not leave if all this fell into place. ENFJs are normally optimistic, patient encouragers with keen insight to seek solution. Her personal relationship with the Lord has given her strength. Patience is the main ingredient in dealing with an opposite temperament/type.
A week later she sent this note: “We are good today. He has an appointment with Dr next week and I’ll go too. He is looking for full time work. He knows he needs to be busy. I’m confident he will either get a full time or part time job. What a relief. He definitely was impressed with your message and needed another person to be concerned before he realized the necessity to be proactive. A huge burden was lifted off both of us. Isn’t God good? We are blessed. I feel your prayers.“
I’d like to chat with them together but they know that I’m not far away and am always there for them.