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Married for the First Time at Fifty (Week 2, Part 1)

WEEK 2 (Feb 24, 2018):

We completed 4 out of 8 premarital counseling sessions. I almost walked out of Session #3, wondering if pushing buttons is considered part of the counseling to see if I’d pop.

I almost did.

I have a writer friend, Mark Mynheir, who gives a class based on the book “How Can I Get Through to You?: Breakthrough Communication Beyond Gender, Beyond Therapy, Beyond Deception” by D. Glen Foster.

Mark covered the various aspects of the four personality types. The ‘Driver’ is the social bull in the china shop, walking into each room and sizing up the people and making a plan of attack. He described Drivers as the flashy one in the crowd, standing out; the extrovert that has to win all the time. Their primary mood during conflict: Anger. In that group are the likes of Bill O’Reilly, Archie Bunker, Jack Nicholson, Rosie O’Donnell, and Simon Cowell.

And then he said, “Sally is a Driver.”

I’d already pegged myself as an Analyzer: Intense and non-emotional (check); they’re writers and editors (check), mathematicians and scientists; logic based (check); detail oriented and love lists (check and check).

I was offended. I knew I had to correct this mistake.

After the class I made my way over to Mark ASAP.

“How can you say I’m a Driver? Are you kidding me?” I demanded to know.

He took a breath, then sized me up. “You’re standing in my space with your arms crossed.

You’re accusing me. You’re obviously angry. You’re a classic Driver.”

I took a step back, dropped my arms and held my hands behind me. In a lower, much more demure tone, I politely said, “I think you’ve missed it. I was ticking all the analyzer boxes.”

“Remember that the true personality comes through when it’s pressed or cornered. It’s always hardest to figure out your own.”

He was right. That weekend I caught myself saying something passive-aggressive to my mother. And there it was, I’m a big ole Driver.

Dean was also hard to figure out. With the way Dean handles himself, I remember thinking he must be former or current law enforcement or military. Definitely a Driver! I observed him for a couple of weeks before we met. Each time he impressed me with his social skills—had he been a lump sitting there until time to leave, I would not have been interested.

His outgoing personality drew me to him.

Following service he’d check his phone for a bit, almost studying it—could he be an Analyzer? Then he’d make the rounds hobnobbing, like a bee going from flower to flower.

He spoke with men and women, groups and some standing by themselves.

After a couple of months of lunches after church, it started to hit me: Dean is a ‘Feeler.’

They are half of the population and mostly female, so I didn’t see it at first. They are the ones who dress conservatively in subdued tones, not wanting to stand out, not flashy (check); they speak in flowery words and euphemisms, and with longer speech patterns (he’s a man, but still … check). The Feeler’s primary mood during conflict: Bargaining. (Bingo!) Some famous Feelers are Mary Richards on the Mary Tyler Moore show, Oprah, and Paula Abdul.

As Mark explained, the Feeler is the guy in the jail cell crying in the corner; the one Mark would pick out to interrogate, knowing he’d turn on his cohorts.

When I figured it out, it made sense. Dean wears the masks of the Driver and Analyzer very well, which is why it threw me at first.

I saw Mark at the next conference, after only a few dates with Dean.

“He’s a Feeler! What am I supposed to do with that?”

Mark said, “You’re going to own him!” and laughed. He says he’s also a Feeler, so I supposed he spoke from experience. “I’d get eaten alive if I didn’t wear a Driver mask for my career in law enforcement, not to mention when I was in the Marines.”

My counselor said, “Feelers make the best husbands.” I hope so. It took me a while to come around to the thinking that Feelers aren’t less-than, only different.

Maybe Pastor was picking up on all that too, but it made the pre-marital sessions very Dean-friendly.

Everybody loves Dean.

I, on the other hand, rub people the wrong way far too frequently. #FootInMouthDisease Mark referred to it as think-speak.

Pastor warned us that we have to be careful with each other’s heart. I knew he meant me, especially.

Dean can be blunt and direct, but I’m always getting into to trouble for it. For example, when I was in high school, my French teacher missed a few days. She explained to the class that one of her children had some health issues they had to deal with.

“She isn’t going to die, is she?” I asked.

I now cringe at that too, and know how inappropriate that was … now.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (KJV)


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