- If you are married to an introvert, don’t take their need to be alone personally; they are recharging
- Helping you navigate your marriage during the COVID-19 crisis
- Verbal processors vs. internal processors
- Understanding that we’re all wired differently
The following is a full transcript of a Facebook Live, where Susie is speaking extemporaneously – she is unscripted and unedited.
Hey friends, thanks for joining me today for Corona proofing your marriage. Today we’re going to talk about personality differences and I’m going to cover three things that I hope will help you navigate this Corona time of all this together time because we are at the front end, I think of being in this altogether time where we’re together 24/7. And what I will tell you is we have been living the hubs and I in a either 240 and now we’re at 340 square foot, tiny house renovated RV where for the last almost three years, July will be three years where we have been together all the time. And I feel like we have learned a few things and I’m talking to people and people. Hi. Hi Lynn. Good to see you here. We’ve learned a few things about this concentrated time and concentrated space.
He is a really high introvert and I’m kind of on the border. I recharged by myself a lot, but I also recharge with people. When you are an author and a speaker, you spend a lot of time alone creating content and writing and studying and reading. And so I love that, but people energize me too. People tire him out. And so living together all the time, we’ve had to learn a few things about, you know, how to navigate this, you know, 24/7,365 in this small space in our tiny home. So I think that will help give me some extra things to share with you. But also just working with couples for 25 years and high performers who are wrestling with how to deal with personality differences in the regular life. When you’re together on the weekends or you’re together in the evenings, now you’re together all the time and you’re trying to figure out how to navigate work and kids and you know, hibernation or quarantine or whatever you want to call it.
My sister calls it hibernation because they’re up in this snowy area of Minnesota. So here’s what I want to talk about. Three things. First is introvert versus extrovert. And if you’ve seen my two posts, the last two posts I talked about these things, dear introvert or dear extrovert, your introvert needs to recharge being totally alone. And I remember when I learned this lesson that for an introvert to recharge, it is not alone time together where we’re sitting on the sofa and being quiet or we’re going for a walk and being quiet and just not talking and interacting. No. For an introvert to recharge, they have to be alone, physically alone because they are so aware of our energy or other people’s energy that they’re picking it up and they can’t totally shut down and rollbacks. And so I did that post where it just would really help for you to figure out if you are an introvert or if you’re married to an introvert, how to help them have total alone time.
Hey Ann, good to see you. Alone Time away from you, away from kiddos, away from people. And I know that’s might be tough if you’re in a small space, but it could be, you know, as young moms will use to hide in the bathroom. It could be a time and just a closet where they can be physically by themselves because they really, really need that physical space of being alone to recharge. So introverts, if you’re married to an introvert, if you are doing life with introverted children, even here, let them carve out time every single day to be physically alone, physically alone, so that they can let down their guard and recharge mentally, emotionally, spiritually having you anywhere near them, even if you’re quiet, doesn’t do it for them. And I remember when I learned that lesson, it shifted how I handled things with John and one of our kids who’s a pretty high introvert, and allow them to have space.
So it may be that you need to go for a walk. You need to get out. Hey Justin, you need to go and let them be in the space alone. Okay. Take all the kids outside in the backyard. But it could be as simple as they need to hide in the closet and just have alone time, an hour or two. Don’t take it personally. What you will notice is over time they will get kind of glazed-eyed and they will not know what to do with you. And they’ll be snippy and short because they are on their very last nerve and they haven’t filled their cup. So that is something to know about the introverts in your life. Thanks, Justin. I think you’re amazing too. Second, let’s talk about if you are an extrovert. So one of the things I wrote in the last post is, Hey introverts dear introverts, your extroverts are dying.
They are going crazy with not enough stimulation. Even if they would go into an office, they would see people as they go in. They would see people as they, you know, walk to the water cooler, all the different ways they would connect with people. Got a little bit of [inaudible] to their energy. So that energy kind of increased. If you are the only person in their world, my guess is they’re wearing you out with all of their words and all of their thoughts and all of the energy and all of their all. And so what I want to do here is name, we call it naming but no shaming about the differences in our personalities. If you are married to stuck in a small space with 24/7 with an extrovert, give them permission to find a way to meet their needs outside of you. Again, it’s not personal.
You do not have the energy to fill up an extrovert. They need time with other people, whether it’s phone time, and I would say FaceTime. I recommended the app house party the other day just to get on with people just to connect. And they might need this for 15 minutes, three, four, five, six times a day because they are drained by this alone time and there’s no place to process their energies and their ideas and their thoughts and they’re running commentary in their head, which they’re used to sharing with people all the time in work settings. And so if you are married to an extrovert, don’t take it personally. Actually, you might say to them, okay, I’m just going to listen, but I’m not going to respond and let them dump their box on you. Let them talk about all the things going through their head and just listen and be there present to them.
You don’t have to reply, I promise. They just want a space to process their thoughts and their feelings, but also encourage them, encourage them every day to connect with other friends and colleagues in this online world, in this online space and this online forum so they can get some of that energy-filled or they’re going to exhaust you and drain you. And I guarantee your marriage will take a hit. If you have extroverted kids, they may need to play together while you’re introverted kids are alone. You know, all of this applies to all the relationships in your world. You may have introverts and extroverts on your team. And while we’re focused on marriage, this is true across the board for relationships. Introverts and extroverts need to be honoring of the way each other deals with energy, energy input, energy output. Okay. So that’s point number one.
Along that same lines, we have people who are verbal processors, verbal processors, and then internal processors. And usually, introverts are much more internal processors and extroverts are tend to be verbal processors. So let me go back to what I was talking about with dump your box. Extroverts constantly have stuff going through their head. They’re thinking about things. They’re, they’re processing things and they want to process out loud. They want to tell you their ideas about where you should buy more toilet paper or what they think of this latest article or this on the news, or your kid’s doing that. Or there’s thoughts and ideas about everything that they comes into their world and they want to process it verbally. One of my clients said, Oh my gosh, my husband is talking all the time, all the time. He’s got these things coming out.
And I never realized how much he said out loud because I didn’t spend all day with him. So verbal processors make decisions by verbally discussing the thoughts in their head. I use this example when I teach and train in corporations and in events. If you think about a box, if you give a box of stuff to an external processor, they’re going to dump their box and then they’re going to pick up everything in their box and they’re going to talk about it and they’re going to have thoughts about it. And they’re going to change as they’re talking, right? They’re going to process out loud and by the end, they’re going to have two or three sentences that have come from all this talking about all the things in their box. And so you kind of have to listen through all the processing and then go, Oh, okay.
So in my box, I’ve got some great stuff and these are my three thoughts about it, and get to move forward. But it came from all this, all this talking, an internal processor is going to take their box and go away and slowly and quietly look at what’s in their box and think about it and process it and chew their cud and kind of just kind of go round and round in their head until they come up with three or four sentences and two or three days later they may come to you and say, Hey, these are the two or three sentences I have about what’s in my box and an extra processor is gonna be like, how on earth did you get there? I don’t know. I just thought about it because internal processes are going to take it and do it on the inside.
And so when you have that, now imagine you saying to your spouse, let’s say that you’re the, well, I’m the external processor in our family and my husband’s the internal processor. So let me give you an example. We were talking about something that came up on the news the other day about what’s going on in Italy and the fact that there were 790 some deaths in one day Saturday. And I was having all these thoughts and feelings about it and I was telling him and I was going on and on about, you know, what we should do with the government and what we should do with, you know, who should be doing what. I had lots of opinions and thoughts about how this should be handled and my husband just, you know, we’re on a walk and he’s listening and I was like, what do you think?
And he was like, I’ll think about it. And then he was quiet. And again, because I’ve done this for so long and we’ve been married for almost 37 years I kind of let it go at that and he just kind of let all the stuff in my box sit in his hands and kind of be like, okay, well this morning as we were having coffee, he said to me, Hey, I have some thoughts about that Italy thing. I really think that it would be smart for you to do a post or talk to our kids about the importance there was of the isolation based on what they’re learning in Italy. Now I can’t do math, but you know, all day Saturday, all day Sunday. And to today we haven’t mentioned this conversation at all, but it had all been going on back in his head here.
And so then he told me today what he thought. Now the importance of knowing that was, I wasn’t upset when he didn’t talk about it with me when I was dumping my box. And today I knew to wait and then I’d eventually hear what he was thinking because he would come back to me. And so when you have that awareness in your relationship, you’re not taking it personally, that they’re not engaging the way you want them to engage and they’re not feeling pressure to come up with words and thoughts and insights when they haven’t had their internal processing time to actually come up with words and thoughts and insights. So that’s a really important thing for you to know about this introvert-extrovert kind of not conundrum but differences. And you know, honestly folks, we were drawn to the person we married or that we’re in relationship with our significant other because they were different from us.
We liked that they complimented us. I love that John could listen to all of my thoughts and feelings and, and, and hold onto them and carry them. When we were falling in love and when we were first married, I only did it like it when I wanted him to reply right now. And that’s not honoring our differences. That’s not honoring who he is. And so one of the ways you’ve got to Corona proof your marriage is to honor the differences in your personalities. They are going to come, you know, what’s this a Geyser. Sky’s ring up into your relationship right now because you’re together all the time. And so those personality differences that were fun quirks when you were falling in love, not so bad when you work together, but you know, a limited amount of time are there all the time like nails on a chalkboard.
And if you don’t have a category to put them in, it is absolutely going to drive you crazy and could drive a wedge in your marriage. And so we don’t want that. We want to honor if you’re an introvert and I’m an extrovert, we have different ways that we fill our energy cup. We have different ways we expend energy. Okay? Second, we have different ways we process we process internally. So we have these options that are different. Okay? And if you have a, if you’re a verbal processor, one of the things I tell my clients and myself is I’ll say to John, Hey, I just want to dump my box. And that’s a clue to just listen, just kind of nod and smile. And so all the introvert’s permission to just nod and smile as they dump their box. You don’t have to engage the pressures off.
But when you name that extroverts, then they’re not feeling, Oh my gosh, I’m supposed to say something here. Usually, we’ll be like, We’ll end the conversation I’ll be like, let me know when you have some thoughts on that. I’d love to hear them when you’re ready. And that just takes the tension and the pressure way down and we have so much tension and pressure added on to normal life tension and pressure right now because of the Coronavirus. So my third point real quick is this, we have different processing speeds and this is another place that you can understand personalities. About 14% of the population has a processing speed of three seconds, they’ll hear something, they’ll process this in their head and then they’ll have something to say in response in about three seconds. That means 86% I’m not, math is not my thing.
86% of the population processes in seven seconds. Now don’t for a minute think these three Second people are smarter, they just have a different wiring. Their circuits are wired different in their brain. Then the seven-second processors just as smart, it’s not an idea an issue of smarts or intelligence. It’s a processing speed. And so one of the things I tell my fast processors to do is count to seven pose a question to, and this works with teams, this works with kids, but it especially works in marriage. And then wait seven seconds before you jump in with the next question or the next idea or wanting an answer, which I’ve never done, right? I do it all the time and I’m learning to pause. I have one client who just twists his wedding ring and counts to seven and he tells me it’s this, it’s the longest seven seconds every time he does it.
But if you give yourself time to do that, you will give the other person time to think and process in their head and then respond. Because we do have different processing speeds. That’s so important to know. Again, just in general. So let’s say you ask a question about the kids. Hey, do you think the kids should be allowed to go outside and play or do you think the kids should have to do their homework or their chores or Hey our teenager wants to get in the car and go see his friend. What do you think? And I know for me, I want an answer pretty fast from my husband and I’ve had to learn to wait the seven seconds to let him think, work through it in your head and then answer the question, and then we can process that. So he might say, you know, I don’t think it’s so bad if they drive to pick up takeout, but I don’t really think they should get to go be with a friend, and then you can respond.
Okay, I would agree. How are we going to tell them? Or in my view, how are you going to tell them cause they’re going to be mad about that answer. And then again, that other seven seconds of just allowing people time who are different from us. If you’re a fast processor to take the time to process. My husband has learned to say to me, listen slower, like I’ll say talk faster, process faster. And he’s like, listen, slower, slow your roll honey because I need some time. And when we know that and we know our, our differences, when we know our personality differences, introverted versus extroverted, verbal versus non-verbal processing, speed of processing in a conversation in real-time, we then can allow these, these, these personality differences to help us connect and engage on a deeper level as opposed to causing us to be more tense and more annoyed and you know, more anxious in this time of anxiety.
So those are my three tips. I’m looking at some questions here. Jen asked if your spouse and you different on reaction faith versus fear and be more optimistic, that is a huge one. It is too much for me to cover here. I, I will cover it tomorrow. That will be where I start with tomorrow because that would be something that we can dive in deeper. But off the top of my head, the very first thing I would say to you is we have to make space to listen to where our spouses are. If they’re, even if they’re in a way different place than us. We have to, we start good conversations by saying, help me understand what you’re thinking and feeling and we’ll dive into that more a little bit more tomorrow, Jen, at the same time. So I want to keep these short. I will be back on tomorrow at nine Pacific time, 12 Eastern to discuss the same things. Pop questions in the comments and I’ll address them. And if you want to download my sanity savers, there’s a 16 different sanity savers that you can print off
And you can post it on your fridge so you can stay sane in this chaos. And that is Bitly, B I T. Dot. L Y forward slash. Susie.
Susie dash Sanity savers or Sanity savers dot Susie, I will post it in the comments below and have it ready for you tomorrow. Thanks for engaging with me today. Thanks for being here. Let me know, are you a fast processor? Three seconds. Are you a seven-second processor? Are you a verbal processor? Are you a non-verbal processor? And let’s get this conversation going because folks, we’re all in this together. We can Corona proof our marriage. We can grow deeper in our relationships with God, ourselves, and others if we use this time to get to know ourselves better, connect more deeply with our spouse, take a deeper breath with our faith and get through this together and supporting each other and cheering each other on. I am here for you. I’m cheering you on and I’ll see it tomorrow.