Author Topic: Two INTJs with motivation mismatch - your solutions?  (Read 4510 times)

MBot

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Two INTJs with motivation mismatch - your solutions?
« on: April 18, 2015, 10:39:26 PM »
Perhaps some similar marriages and advice may be out there.

My husband and I are two generally well-matched INTJ personalities. But I tend towards a bit more extroversion and long-term goal planning in that spectrum, and my job and personality means I keep a tight day planner and check off a lot of tasks and deadlines. He is much better with people, but interaction drains him a lot more than it does me. He goes into a regular shift and keeps no day planner because his activities are regular and has a lot of trouble planning outside of routine. We're both in our early 30s. At work his deadlines are swift and he gets a lot of feedback in a small office. His job is not long term planning at all and neither is his personality.

Practically this means I've handled a lot of "initiating" tasks: opening bank accounts, searching for houses to look at when we bought it, etc. We are both big INTJ dreamers, so we talk big picture, discuss our priorities, agree on what needs to be done. If it's a routine change (who cooks more, we have X amount spendin money this month, etc) that's no problem. We both adjust the routine and it's ok. If it requires a conversation or initiation of something new I go get it done. Normally I'm ok with that and "executing" things like phone calls and planning. I do the steps that accomplish them.

But when there is something "extra" his skillset is better at that has to get done and has a deadline, he can't remember it and doesn't do it without a reminder. Or ten. Or just doesn't do it at all.

This is as simple as remembering to pay off a bill (every month) or as long-term as listing our car for sale (dragged on for months). And saying he'd book a tax appointment and not following through. He hasn't booked himself things like dentist appointments or massage even though it's covered now and he keeps saying he'd like to.  Even though he's done enough work in his field to graduate a while ago, and has a job that'a given him the last few tech courses necessary, he's put off contacting the person at the school that can apply them to his transcript and get him graduated  It's like he can't remember how this fits into the big picture so there's no motivation... And I'm freaking out because pieces of the puzzle get missed

Day to day we are good. But this is the recurring conflict.  Every 1-2 months something like this pops up. He's tried ways to write it down: downloading a planner, giving himself reminders in Google calendar, a paper Moleskine planner, even tasks in Wunderlist.  I've tried talking and reminding and texting.  Even emails. But no "reminder" works. It disappears in his mind and gets put off. Maybe 3/10 things get done by him that need to.

And for these things, they're not contentious items.   we've already talked about what has to be done, and agreed. We're very honest if either of us doesn't want to do something or prefers not to. But this is "gotta get done" stuff that I can't do (like call to graduate) or I don't want to be stuck doing the rest of my life (making dentist appointments).

One small solution we found: For the bills, we always do a "check in" weekly and take care of things before we go out on a weekly date.  That's  been a good solution to make sure that is done. And in the day-to-day we share a lot of tasks (cooking, cleaning, yard-work) with no issue. It's just these long term/initiating things that cause an issue. 
« Last Edit: April 18, 2015, 10:58:57 PM by MBot »

swick

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Re: Two INTJs with motivation mismatch - your solutions?
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2015, 11:03:25 PM »
Hubs can be the same way so what I do is put it in MY Planner/to do list. Then it is not forgotten, and I can find a time when he can do it and I will hand him the phone and info he needs and say "I can't do this, I need you to do it for me" and he happily does. Then I appreciate him. He loves making me happy so by demonstrating him taking care of these tasks makes me happier and my life easier he sees a direct reason to do them.

mrshudson

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Re: Two INTJs with motivation mismatch - your solutions?
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2015, 11:50:12 PM »
Why does missing a dentist or massage appointment feel like pieces of the puzzle are missing to you? You mean those are your appointment and he has to schedule those for you? Sounds complicated. Or if it's his dentist appointment that he is not scheduling, why does that bother you?

As for other things like listing the car or graduating - why does it affect you? I guess what I'm getting at is, couldn't you divide things like: things that matter to you, you do it, and the things that matter to him, he does it, and the other person lays off their preferences on *how*  or *when* the task has to be completed out of respect? Leave skillset out of the discussion please, and "operate on a who cares about this stuff the most does it" basis.

FWIW, an ENTJ here, and I'd absolutely freak out and refuse to live with that person if someone tried micromanaging *my* life (spouse/significant other or not) and kept reminding me to do things (especially those I'd tabled, even if I didn't share a reason). It's called respecting the other person's judgment.

Oh, and I've said this before, but MBTI results (especially the unofficial online type tests) tend to be off by a lot, and there's no reason to take the test results without a barrel of salt.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2015, 11:52:55 PM by mrshudson »

Argyle

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Re: Two INTJs with motivation mismatch - your solutions?
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2015, 03:15:12 AM »
Does he say that he wants to do them, but he just can't remember; or does he balk at the need to do them at all?  That's the real question.

If he wants to do them, but the reminder slips out of his mind, I'd suggest you both have a "chore hour."  Like on a certain day every week, you both sit down and take an hour and get out your to-do lists and do the things in each other's presence.  He calls the dentist and the massage person; you look at the accounts and schedule the oil change.  Or whatever.

However, if even under these conditions he puts the things off, it's not that he doesn't remember, it's that he's resisting for whatever reason.  If that's the case, you'll mutually need to figure out what's behind that.

andreamac

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Re: Two INTJs with motivation mismatch - your solutions?
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2015, 06:19:38 AM »
My husband is very similar and I've noticed that he drags his feet on similar things. My husband hates talking to people on the phone for whatever reason and it's so frustrating! I agree with Swick and add reminders about his things to my calendar so I keep reminding him. There is a fine point between reminding him and being a nag so I tread the line carefully otherwise it ends up in a fight. I know I'm being a nag but if he didn't drag his feet I wouldn't have to be!

Calling to graduate will affect the both of you so I agree this is something you have a right to be concerned about. I let certain appointments go and if they don't get done so be it but this one is a huge deal. Mine was getting my husband to do his driving test. This was something he didn't want to do so I had to push him towards it. This was something that affected both of us so I wanted to make sure he was able to drive since we are considering having children and I didn't want to be the only person who can drive in the household.

Thanks for the suggestions, I will also give them a try.

MBot

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Re: Two INTJs with motivation mismatch - your solutions?
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2015, 07:32:34 AM »
Thanks for the quick responses. I agree that it doesn't matter to me much whether he makes his dentist appointments or not, and that's the kind of thing I won't remind or care about. I used it as an example of something he initiates/says he needs to do but doesn't.

It's more things like graduating or calling to change an extra RRSP contribution by a deadline or change mortgage repayment terms. These are things that, like graduating, absolutely affect us both. Others are often his idea (eg selling the car to get a different used car - he hates this one and wants to switch back to the last kind we had. I don't care so much and the costs are similar. But he's not listing it, so every time there's a reason for him to hat it I say the same thing - if you still want to sell it, I fully support you listing it.  ). It's just the follow-through.

I do appreciate the comments to avoid micro managing. I've learned a lot about letting go and realizing a lot truly doesn't matter and I know I need to guard against pressing on issues that don't. 
« Last Edit: April 19, 2015, 07:34:21 AM by MBot »

terran

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Re: Two INTJs with motivation mismatch - your solutions?
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2015, 08:22:23 AM »
This doesn't really get at the bigger problem, but our dentist (actually, I think every dentist I've ever gone to) makes the next appointment before you leave. I guess the bigger point, at least where possible, might be to try to arrange things in such a way that they work out without the extra thought/remembering/motivation.

Also, and this is coming from someone who I think has some similarities to your husband, I don't think I agree with the comments that this is none of your business. Skipping the dentist could cost money down the road (and lead to bad breath), and presumably you could use both the parking spot an the money you would gain by selling the car. There's not a whole lot that needs to get done that really only effects one spouse.

mrshudson

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Re: Two INTJs with motivation mismatch - your solutions?
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2015, 06:12:51 PM »
Skipping the dentist could cost money down the road (and lead to bad breath), and presumably you could use both the parking spot an the money you would gain by selling the car.

Again, if someone tried getting me to do something by giving ultimatums (e.g., do this or else [insert bad thing] would happen), I'm less likely to respect them overtime, if not avoid them entirely. Just a counterpoint. That's part of respecting the other's judgment. Yes, I understand the risks, but yes, if I choose not to do it now, and get penalized for it, I'm going to hold the other party (spouse/SO) unaffected/unharmed as a results of my *ahem* ineptitude. If I am not allowed to try/test things in my life without having to ask spouse's permission for *every* little thing, that would not work for me.

Dee

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Re: Two INTJs with motivation mismatch - your solutions?
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2015, 06:39:18 PM »
I have some of the same tendencies you've described in your husband. For me, some of the aspects that are helpful are finding a way to get it done without a telephone and finding a way to get it done without an appointment. My BF is not terribly indulging of my hatred of phone calls, but he can't really argue when I agree to get something done by email, snail mail or face to face instead (as long as I actually follow through). He was recently encouraging me to CALL to make an APPOINTMENT to get a skin rash addressed. I tried over-the-counter creams for longer than he liked, but eventually I went to a walk-in clinic and got a prescription. I can be quite literal, too, so when he wants me to make a call to get something done, I tend to remind him that, really, what he wants is a particular result and a phone call is just the method.

From what you've written, I doubt very much that memory is your husband's issue. I'd try to explore more with him what actually is the difficulty.

In those instances where he agrees in principle that he should do something, maybe you can get him to actually commit to himself or to you to take specific steps by specific dates (e.g. I will call the prof about the diploma update before the end off the semester). For me, an actual commitment is sufficient, for others (self-inflicted) penalties may be required (e.g. I will call the prof about the diploma update before the end off the semester AND IF I DON'T, I can't drink any wine/eat any candy/watch any more of the series I'm binge-watching/any other pleasurable thing UNTIL I DO.) These are, of course, tricks he'd have to agree to but he may want to. And for some of the items, he may not be ready to commit (e.g. I know I'll have to see the dentist eventually and that it would make financial sense for me to do it now, but it just isn't important enough to me to implement yet, so I will leave this as a free-standing intention I may not actually act on, and revisit the importance of this issue in 6 months).

Looking forward to other suggestions in this thread...

goodlife

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Re: Two INTJs with motivation mismatch - your solutions?
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2015, 05:44:41 AM »
I can totally relate to the dentist appointment story. I have the same issue with my husband. All he has to do is call the dentist to make an appointment and then go. It's free, just go do it. He also agreed in principle that he should go see the dentist once a year. I always make all my doctor appointments well in advance of that one year deadline. It's now been 6 months, he still hasn't done it. But you know what? I just don't care about this anymore. All the things that are really relevant and concern us both, he does them. Yes, he is my husband, but it's his teeth, not mine, so c'est la vie, I am not saying anything anymore about this. If it ever got to things that affect us both, I would for sure have a real heart-to-heart with him, so in your case, I think that's probably necessary. But for things that are really personal (such as his teeth), my advice would be to just let it go.

Merrie

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Re: Two INTJs with motivation mismatch - your solutions?
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2015, 06:08:33 AM »
I have the same problem with mine. I pretty much either do what I can myself, resign myself to nagging, or let go of the outcome as much as I can. If you don't care about the car and he does, then just put it in the back of your mind and let him act on it when he decides he cares enough to do something about it. If he won't schedule his dentist appointment, do it for him if they'll let you and you know what times he is free. Etc. It helps us too for me to clear some time if I want him to do it (we have small children, so clearing time means saying "I'll get the kids out of your hair during X time window if you want to deal with Y").

happy

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Re: Two INTJs with motivation mismatch - your solutions?
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2015, 06:16:51 AM »
2 thoughts:
Some folks are good at theorising and strategising, but not operationalising. Personally I spend too much time in my head…I love thinking, planning, figuring out new ways to solve problems, learning new concepts. I find operationalising the details of those plans e.g. find the number, make the phone call,  find its engaged, call back, make the appointment, realise I can't go or have double booked it etc etc really really tedious.  I fear I will get bogged down in the detail of the task  and once I've decided to act I just want to get the job done . I know this sounds kind of pathetic and is a weakness and try to set aside time to specifically do those sorts of  things. What helps is someone to facilitate me getting started a little without nagging. "here is the number, you're free then and then". And then leave me to it. It will eventually get done, or not. Nagging too much makes me dig my heels in, and I almost won't act on principle for a period of time until my internal resistance to being pressed settles down. I have no idea if this is your hubby, just this is how it is for me.

Secondly the issue of procrastination - again not sure if this is actually an issue for your hubby, but David Cain at Raptitude wrote a great post on this recently http://www.raptitude.com/2015/03/how-to-get-yourself-to-do-things/ that might help.

hdatontodo

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Re: Two INTJs with motivation mismatch - your solutions?
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2015, 07:41:23 AM »
Some people aren't good at keeping up with things they're not that interested in.

My Mrs can make 10,000 appointments, play dates, etc and keep it all straight.

If I ask her to increase the mortgage payment from her acct by $500 (and tell her I'll give her $500 more each month), it never happens immediately and always takes nagging, and she never closes the loop and tells me it was done. This is someone who sits on the computer every night for hours browsing Facebook while she watches TV. She has the time, but not the incination.

Also, she doesn't like being told what to do and doesn't like my asking her before she goes out, "Do you have your keys, your wallet, and your phone?" since she often is missing one of the three, and that later impacts me (e.g. I can't reach her or she wants me to fax her medical card since she doesn't have it.)

Before I go out, I say, "when you go out please set the alarm and lock the deadbolt." I come back and it wasn't does. I asked why she didn't do it. She responds "I was not obedient." like it is not important to the household's safety but was only a request from me.

If your family needs a payment made, and he can't be counted on to do it, set up something automatic. If his personality is just such that he doesn't think about "should do" tasks, you won't change him. He might not need or want "a system". He might just want to not have any of those responsibilities, and you need to let things that impact only him (e.g. massage, dentist) go and automate things important to the household.

mak1277

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Re: Two INTJs with motivation mismatch - your solutions?
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2015, 07:57:00 AM »
Some people aren't good at keeping up with things they're not that interested in.

My Mrs can make 10,000 appointments, play dates, etc and keep it all straight.

If I ask her to increase the mortgage payment from her acct by $500 (and tell her I'll give her $500 more each month), it never happens immediately and always takes nagging, and she never closes the loop and tells me it was done. This is someone who sits on the computer every night for hours browsing Facebook while she watches TV. She has the time, but not the incination.

Also, she doesn't like being told what to do and doesn't like my asking her before she goes out, "Do you have your keys, your wallet, and your phone?" since she often is missing one of the three, and that later impacts me (e.g. I can't reach her or she wants me to fax her medical card since she doesn't have it.)

Before I go out, I say, "when you go out please set the alarm and lock the deadbolt." I come back and it wasn't does. I asked why she didn't do it. She responds "I was not obedient." like it is not important to the household's safety but was only a request from me.

If your family needs a payment made, and he can't be counted on to do it, set up something automatic. If his personality is just such that he doesn't think about "should do" tasks, you won't change him. He might not need or want "a system". He might just want to not have any of those responsibilities, and you need to let things that impact only him (e.g. massage, dentist) go and automate things important to the household.

I agree with this.  I am very similar to the way you describe your husband.  For me, the issue is a combination of laziness and being completely uninterested in mundane BS.  Paying bills, making dentist appointments, etc....it's just not that interesting and I just don't like to be bothered.  I've accepted these flaws (yes, definitely flaws), but I don't really have any motivation to change.  My wife has also accepted that there is little chance of my changing at this point.  I've made some improvements around the margins because it's easier than being nagged, but by in large I couldn't care less about most of these small details.

Just be happy that your personalities compliment each other and that you're not BOTH this way.