When a Recovering Type A Personality Marries a Get Out of My Way Personality
Every morning, I ask my wonderful wife about our plans for the day, often before I say “good morning.”
This drives her crazy.
However, not knowing what the plan is — or not having a plan at all — drives me crazy.
I have a Type A personality, which means that I manage my time intensively and find interruptions very stressful. A Type B personality is much more likely to say “we’ll play it by ear.” When I took a test to see whether I was Type A or Type B, I was overwhelmingly Type A. A coworker at the time said I’ll die of heart disease if I don’t learn how to take things easy.
Relax or die.
Just what a high strung Type A personality needs to hear.
It’s strange to see how stressed I can get, because I think I’m usually pretty easy going. Still, when I play pickup soccer, to take one example, if the game should start at 10:00, I will arrive at 9:50. Everyone else arrives at 10:15. I spend every minute between 9:50 and 10:15 brooding about what else I could be doing with all of this wasted time. Instead of coming late, I’ll probably bring a book to read during the wait, because they should arrive on time, damn it.
In many ways, I live more easily if I don’t have to be around others. But that doesn’t make for a very interesting soccer game.
So before I became a live-in husband, I began making efforts to curb my Type A personality. To some extent, I used my personality to prevent stress by making back up plans. When all of my best laid plans fail, I can get really frustrated, but by taking time to make those back up plans, I experience that intense stress less often.
Perhaps the most important change I made was organizing my daily routine around avoiding rush hour. What a relief.
Unfortunately, my wife does not share my commitment to intensive time management. Quite stubbornly, she insists that we should just leave the house “whenever,” an attitude that might seem reasonable. However, I tend to associate this attitude with “If I want to go the gym, the world can get out of our way.”
The world will not get out of our way. The world will be busy and crowded. That doesn’t matter to my stubborn wife, but it does matter to my blood pressure.
I know they say married men live longer, but I can’t help wondering if my wife and I will be the exception that proves the rule.
So every morning, I will ask “what’s the plan for today?”