I just noticed that the last two posts of mine started out talking about my husband. Hmmmm….do you think I maybe like the guy? I didn’t always. Loved him….yes…..liked him….not so much. I’ve told you a little about myself – now its time to tell you a little about the man I’m married to. I’m going to call him “Salsa Guy” (and if you read my earlier post you’ll know why).
Say hello to Salsa Guy….
You know how people say opposites attract? I’m a big believer in that philosophy. I think its because we look at another person with different temperament traits and we see qualities in them that we lack, and we want what they have…so we’re drawn to those people. That’s how it was with Salsa Guy. He was handsome, sensitive, caring, gentle, attentive, loving, kind (right about now you’re remembering what I said about being attracted to the qualities we lack…which doesn’t make me look so good right now), and when we were dating and we talked on the phone he never wanted to say goodbye. We would say goodbye about 10 times and then start another conversation because we just couldn’t get enough of each other. Isn’t that just so cute?
It wasn’t long after we got married that all those wonderful things about my sweet husband started to drive me crazy! That sensitivity in him that I was attracted to…now it drives me crazy because he can be a little “oversensitive” and I can hurt his feelers and not even know it. And his attentiveness – still going strong. The funny thing, though, is that he also needs it from me. What is up with that? When I work, and I have laundry to do and kids to feed and clothes to fold and dinner to make and a house to clean and ….well, you get the idea. I wasn’t always so able to be attentive or accept his attentiveness because I was falling asleep mid-underwear fold which didn’t bode so well with him. As the kids grew up and moved out, Salsa Guy remains attentive….kind of like a freight train heading my way that I have to get out of the way. And the phone call thing – at one point I had to set a limit to how many times he could call me in a day because I couldn’t get anything done. Dad-blam it…the guy was enamored with me.
Now before I go any farther…I get it, girls – there’s many out there that would trade their lower back tatoo for a man like that. I am, truly blessed. I know this to be true, trust me. But we are polar opposites, which makes life fun at our house.
If you’ve ever done a study of the God-given temperaments (and may I say I think every person on the planet should be required to do so. It should be taught in our schools and in every marriage counseling session) you’ll know that there are all sorts of temperament descriptions. There’s the Meyers-Brigg (I can never remember all those letters) and the Teacher’s Personality Assessment (too academic) and then there’s the basic personality description using animal motifs. Now that’s something I can get behind…..except that I’m an otter and its says that I’m “playful and non-productive”. Oh brother.
The one that I keep going back to is the Personality Plus study of our God-given personalities. It’s sub-title is Understanding Yourself So That You Can Understand Others. Did you notice it didn’t say anything about “changing” others? I really hated that part.
About 25 years ago as I was perusing the Christian bookstore Marriage Self-help section, I came across a book entitled “I Love You…But Why Are We So Different? “ by Tim LaHaye. BAM….I bought it on the spot! It’s sub-title is “Making the Most of Personality Differences in Your Marriage“. This book saved my marriage! OK, if you’re going to argue that God saved our marriage I’ll give you that…but He definitely used this book in the process.
So the four personalities that are described in the book are: the sanguine, the melancholy (opposites – one out-going/the other not so much), the choleric, and the phlegmatic (one also out-going/the other not). They’re based off of Hippocrates’s theory of temperaments, and they all have their own strengths and weaknesses, and no one is completely one without some of the others. Jesus was a perfect blend of all of the strengths of each. They can also change depending on your environment, age, and events that take place in your life.
You should check the book out to find a more detailed description of the strengths and weaknesses of each, but my two dominant temperaments are the sanguine (think Kelly Ripa, Robin Williams) and the choleric (think Oprah and Donald Trump). If you gave one word to best describe those two dominant temperaments they would be “Popular” and “Powerful”. But on the flip side there are a list of not-so great weaknesses that plague those two personality types. We can say things without thinking, hurt people’s feelings, bulldoze people, and boss people around without even knowing it. Thank goodness for people who showed me grace despite those flaws.
Salsa Guy hates labels and it took him a couple of years to warm up to the whole concept of personality types (he could never remember the name Sanguine, so he started calling me a Penquin), but he finally embraced it. His two dominant personalities are the melancholy (think Hemingway and Beethovan) and the phlegmatic (think Tim Duncan or Sandy Koufax). One word that best describes his two dominant personality types are “Perfect” and “Peaceful”. But also on his flip side his melancholy weaknesses sometimes (but not always) make living with his opposite (me!) a bit like throwing a match into a firecracker warehouse. KABOOM!
I explained where the word Penguin came from that Salsa Guy refers to me by when talking about temperaments, but I should explain where we came up with the word Melanyorkie. We have 3 dogs…all Yorkies. One of them (Bailey) is definitely a Melancholy personality. Yes, animals can have different personality types, and Bailey can go from high speed chasing and playing to sudden depression at the drop of a Frisbee. But, since he’s a YORKIE and not a Collie (get it!….meloncholy….collie!) we call him a Melanyorkie. Cheesy, I know. So, I call Salsa Guy a melonyorkie and he calls me a penguin.
So you see….this marriage thing was not always peaceful or fun. We had some bumpy moments and (whew baby!) we could tussle like the best of them, but we’ve also seen our temperaments change and soften through the years. Some of my melancholy and phlegmatic traits that were hidden below the surface are starting to show more, as are some of his sanguine and choleric. I guess that’s what happens when we start to put others first before ourselves.
The part that grace played into our marriage is that God blessed me so abundantly when he gave me the gift of relationship with my husband. I didn’t deserve him, and there were definitely moments throughout our marriage where I didn’t particularly want him…but I’m so thankful God knew better and now I thank Him for Salsa Guy every day. Except when he bosses me around in the kitchen. God knew exactly what I needed in personality type to fit together with my crazy quirks to make a beautiful mess. And in the midst of all the bumping up against our differences, our souls agreed on one thing – we were deeply in love and didn’t want to be with anyone else. And somehow, for 34 years, we’ve tangled our hearts and our souls together like a vine…which ultimately kept us tied together and never wanting for another. And isn’t it amazing what happens when you stick with it? It would have been easy to quit. But then I’d never have been able to see him with gray hair, or glasses, or have him stand beside me when I buried my parents. It was worth all the bumps and bruises.
So there you have it! Me and Salsa Guy. The Penquin and the Melanyorkie. Living life loving one another despite our personality differences.