The Organizer VS. the Free Spirit

Author Gary D. Chapman From Things I wish I’d known before we got married 6 years ago 8865

The organizer will give attention to the details while the spontaneous person — “the free spirit” — thinks, “The details will take care of themselves.” Organizers are planners; they will spend months in preparation for a trip out of town. They will check three different websites, looking for the best airfare. They will make sure the rental car has GPS. They will make hotel reservations weeks in advance. They will give similar attention to where they will eat and what they will do, and certainly, they will make sure that they pack the right equipment. The spontaneous person waits until the night before the trip and says, “Why don’t we go to the coast instead of the mountains? The sun is so beautiful and the weather is wonderful.” This sends the organizer into a tailspin and the vacation becomes torture.

Beth and Trent

Before marriage, Beth was impressed with Trent’s organizational skills. “You check your online bank balance every day? That’s amazing!” However, after marriage she is asking, "You want me to write down every expense? That’s impossible. No one does that.” Trent, of course, quickly shows her his little notebook with every expense accurately recorded. To him, it’s simply a matter of being responsible.

Trent will also load the dishwasher in a very organized manner. Plates, bowls, glasses, and silverware—all in their appropriate positions. Beth on the other hand will likely load the dishwasher like she loads the washing machine. Her objective is simply to get the door closed—the dish-washer will take care of the rest. Trent will be quick to point out the chipped plates and broken glasses that are the result of her whimsical attitude.

In my own marriage, it took me several years to realize that Karolyn would never load a dishwasher the way I loaded it. She simply was not wired with that ability. All of my lectures about why she should not cradle two spoons with peanut butter between them fell on deaf ears. I learned the hard way that life is more than a few chipped dishes, broken glasses, and dirty spoons. I had to give her the freedom to be who she is and, in turn, she freely relinquished the task of loading the dishwasher. If I must rush off to an evening meeting, she will gladly do the job and I will accept the results.

Trent will also pay the bills in a very organized, methodical manner. If he is out of townfor a few days on a business trip, he will expect Beth to have the bills stacked neatly on his dest when he returns. However, chances are Beth will not remember what she did with the mail or even if she brought it inside the house. He may find the bills in the car, on the floor, or under the couch cushion. He is amazed that anyone could be so irresponsible. Beth is equally amazed that anyone could be so rigid. This personality difference has the potential for heated conflicts.

Personality difference can be potential conflicts

This personality difference can be easily observed in the dating relationship if the couple is looking for it. However, most couples are not. If the organizer sees the spontaneous personality of his dating partner, he will likely admire it and respond positively to her spontaneous ideas. If the spontaneous person sees the organizational skills of the partner, she will most certainly admire the trait and perhaps even express her appreciation. However, if the couple can be a bit more realistic and acknowledge the potential conflicts in this personality difference and discuss how they might handle such conflicts after marriage, they may save themselves the trauma of being shocked by personality clashes after marriage. The fact that you have acknowledged the potential conflicts and discussed possible solutions will make it much easier for you to discover such solutions when the inevitable conflict arises.

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