How to Annoy Your Introverted, Task-Oriented Wife

Book the whole weekend full of activities with PEOPLE when there are THINGS that need to be done! GOSH!

Well, I definitely had my hand in planning a few of these as well, so it’s not fair to blame it all on him…it just ended up being a REALLY full weekend, and I had gone into it with at least six hours of work to do (for the record label and some church missions team stuff too).

Friday night we had guests over for dinner, the newest couple in our newlyweds Bible study. Matt is in the FBI and Jocelyn is a school teacher and lacrosse coach. They’re the opposite of Matthew and me – she is the extrovert and he is the introvert. We had a really good time with them, I would say, evidenced by the fact that they didn’t leave till after midnight! I tried a crockpot enchilada recipe, which turned out surprisingly well (crockpot recipes often turn out poorly for me). One small hospitality thing to learn – I had the main dish in the crockpot and the dessert (chocolate cherry cake) made, but I hadn’t taken into account all the side dishes I wanted to have as well, so when they got here, I still had to make the corn with cilantro and tomato, set out the chips and salsa, make the virgin pina colada drinks, and then set the table (Jocelyn brought an awesome salad). Thankfully Matthew entertained them by making special coffee drinks and showing off Bugaboo’s tricks while I finished prepping dinner.

Saturday morning we slept in, then Matthew’s mom and siblings came over for lunch. We needed to have a family meeting and prayer time…the short version is that Matthew’s dad left their family almost three years ago, and just filed for divorce on Monday. We have been praying for reconciliation – and my mother-in-law has been working very hard to try to restore the marriage – and we continue to pray.

Shortly after they left, Matthew’s friend Dan came over for a “porch sit” (sitting on the front porch, drinking coffee and talking). I went to pick up Jody, who has been involved in the college and career group at our church off and on for the past few years. She is legally blind. She will be done with her associates’ degree at the end of this year and wanted to look into colleges, so I told her we could do some online research. Her family situation is a mess, and she’s never really had an advocate to help her, so she’s been pushed around through the system her whole life. I admire her spunk in being the first in her family to go to college and how she has worked hard, a few classes at a time, to get a degree, especially with the added difficulty of the almost non-existent education she got all through school.

The four of us had dinner, then Matthew headed off to jam with another musician and Dan left. Jody and I researched a bunch of schools. After I took her home, I came back and worked an hour or so on transcribing an interview. When Matthew got back, I stayed up with him aimlessly surfing the web for a bit, then went to bed while he was up till at least 3 or 4 a.m. working on a freelance database project for a local Senate candidate.

Sunday morning was church and Sunday school, then doing the social wife thing with Matthew as he talked to everyone and their mom. Matthew asked me to go with him to the birthday party for a young man from church so I could “help him leave earlier” (because he had to go down to work – the computer system crashed over the weekend). Needless to say, we didn’t really end up leaving early.

Matthew had decided to invite over another couple for dinner Sunday night. (Oh, look! An open night on our calendar! IT MUST BE FILLED!!!) Eric and Kristen are the first “couple friends” we made in Rhode Island. Kristen is due with their first baby – also a girl – in about three weeks. But it took Matthew longer at work than he thought, so Eric did the grilling of steaks while we waited for him. We had a good time with them, and a good meal too – steak, shrimp, potatoes, salad – but at about 9:30 I had to excuse myself to get to work. (After the Priestleys left, Matthew then went to hang out with other friends for a game of cribbage.)

So…I was up until 1 a.m. working, slept a few hours, then got up and finished the transcript and outline for the article in order to make the deadline. Ah, all the bad bits of college again, but without the fun roommate.

After I got Matthew off to work this morning, I went back to bed with a wet kitten (he had showered with Matthew) in tow. Bugaboo and I slept for a long time, I got up and checked my email and took a phone call about another freelance job, then Bugaboo and I went back to bed. Matthew got to come home early since he had worked on Sunday, and he joined me for an afternoon nap. He was awoken by the head of the missions team calling about coming over for a porch sit. I invited Brian to stay for dinner. Then the guy who was supposed to come over to jam with Matthew bailed, and I thought, “Oh, a free evening with my husband!” I bet you know where this is going. Shortly, my 16-year-old brother-in-law showed up to inform Matthew that our upstairs neighbor and friend Boomer had planned a Halo party, but had to work a double shift and couldn’t come home, so Matthew needed to go upstairs and host.

I know that people are important. I like people, I really do. In small doses. And as long as I still have time for chores and projects that need to be done. I think that besides being an introvert, I am also very task-oriented. I haven’t ever read anything about “task-oriented” and “people-oriented” as personality traits, but I am conviced that those are two different types of people. I notice every little THING that needs to be done – dishes, laundry, unfinished decorating projects, work deadlines… Matthew notices every PERSON he comes into contact with and his or her needs, and wants to have a relationship with everyone he knows and meet their needs. This has caused more than one argument: “Why don’t you care about PEOPLE?” “Why don’t you do any of the THINGS that need to be done?”

In reality, though, Matthew does work hard to get things done, and I do love people and want relationships. In three years of marriage, we have come to recognize our differences and even admire each others’ strengths, but I think there will always be a push-me-pull-you between us. I think it’s a good thing – hopefully we will balance out the extremes in each other, making an effective team.

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  • gwyneth

    i nominate you for sainthood, becky. seriously. i think i am getting more introverted BY THE DAY.

  • daniellehanley

    That is exhausting just thinking about! I seem to recall similar conversations early in our marriage about not noticing things that need to be done. I always thought it was due to the J/P difference. I figured a J guy would notice things that needed to be done. Maybe it’s just a guy thing.

  • Stout_Sojourner

    That’s a busy weekend! I hope your pregnancy is going well and that all the activity isn’t leaving you worn out all the time- my sister just had her first child and found herself very fatigued right at the end. She has a history of concurrent mono, but fortunately it was just the strain on her body from carrying Isaac and trying to organize and plan the next few months at the same time. It’s fun to be an uncle and it’s a huge relief knowing that delivery proceeded smoothly (if a little long) and that mom and baby are still doing well a few weeks later. Haha, I’ve additionally managed to keep my “never changed a diaper” status alive and am planning to do so as long as possible. How much time do you have left?

  • twentysixcats

    “Task-oriented” and “people-oriented” ARE personality traits! We had this guy come into our office and we all took little quizzes and that gave us a DISC profile – like Myers-Briggs, only this gives you 320 combinations instead of 16. One of the main things it looks like is extrovert vs. introvert, and people vs. task. I’m an introvert-people person, but I definitely have a strong task side to me as well. Paul is an introvert-task. It also rates your natural style and your adaptive style – like if you have to be much more task oriented for your job, etc. (Since we took it at work, we talked mostly about how those styles affect our job and our interaction with others.) I thought it was really interesting, and I’m actually working on a blog post about it. Stay tuned! :-)

  • Kriss10P

    I really, really think that not only are “task-oriented” and “people-oriented” personality traits, but for some reason the two seem to marry quite frequently. I would guess this is to keep balance? I frequently look at Eric and wish I was the one with the “task-oriented” personality. So many times I fall behind on things around the house because this person called and asked to see me or that person really was going through a rough time, so instead of just calling them, I stopped by for an all afternoon/evening event. This drives Eric crazy. :)

  • eaglecam

    Becky, I so identify with you…it drives me to the frantic stage when I am continually interrupted as I am working on a project.  Yet, people call, people want help, and  I cannot feel comfortable turning them away.  So, I guess it is I who is driving myself crazy!  God bless you with LOTS of strength and endurance.

  • mmmattress

    Reading this made me laugh, out loud, at work. It made think, “Wow, I DO keep a ridiculous schedule.” Sometimes I feel helpless, like I would be wrong to say no to people with valid needs. Other times, I feel like I can’t say no because I haven’t invested any time in a person in a while, and then I see that person and say (often without thinking), “When can we get together for coffee?” Finally, I often say yes to things that I simply really want to do.

    Unlike Paul, I’m more like, “The things I want to do, I do, and the things I don’t want to do, I don’t do. What a wretched man I am!”

  • hannahbarton

    I’m with Gwyn. I become more introverted by the day… and yet, I continue to go, go, go and do, do, do. I do not turn down opportunities to hang out with people very often. Fortunately, I’m just me.

  • Monyikka

    yeah know… i’ve always been right on the introvert/extrovert line with a preference toward extroversion.  but lately that line has been blurring in the introvert direction more and more.  maybe it’s the fact that we’re newly-weds, or my task-orientedness or my introverted hubby rubbing off on me…one way or another though, it’s happening. 

    we’ve been pushing through it though in an effort to stay connected at church.  we’ve always had such a family feel at church and i have noticed that when we exclude ourselves or shy away, we’re the ones who “lose”, so to speak.  so.  we packed in the fellowship this weekend and i was (as a true extrovert at heart) energized!

  • Falconschloss

    God will mold Task Force Miller into greater service for him as the years go by.

  • trinisity

    Man, reading that exhausted me. If I had to do even half of that I would literally hate everyone I met for at least a week. You are amazing to be able to do all of that. I can’t imagine keeping up with Matthew. I had a hard time keeping up with him as his ACA. I would vote for your sainthood.

  • sweetiepeatie

    I love reading your posts. I have to agree about the “task-oriented” and the “people-oriented” thing, but I have the worst dilemma in my household – I’m both. I love people, yet the tasks get a bit overwhelming to me when I push them off to be with people. When I’m at the point when I can’t wait any longer, my dear husband wants to have people over (he’s usually indifferent). :) Hallelujah for different personalities; I just feel like mine is split sometimes.

    I sure would love to meet Bugaboo! I loved his pictures. We have the best kitty – Nicholas. He is a “pack” cat. He follows us everywhere and loves to be loved. He’s so much fun and such a joy to have around.

    Many blessings to you, friend I have yet to meet. :)

  • curlybecca

    GOSH! (…Tina, you fat lard.) I would just let Matthew go and do his own thing half of the time–you don’t have to keep up with his extroverted-ness. I’m like you–I love people, but I’m introverted and am energized by being alone. My sister is opposite (energized by people–the more, the better!), so I get to watch that interesting complement/clash between us too.

    So you have a porch, eh? I love porches. I want one of my own so I can have “porch-sits.” Although it’s so hot here, it’d probably be a good idea to just have porch-sits inside until October.

  • Badcat926

    Busy. Wow. So how’s the world of being a stay at home wife working out!? ;o) As for task oriented vs people oriented there is a personality test that describes people that way. I can’t remember the name of it, but we had to do it our Freshmen yr of college and there was like a graph with 4 boxes. I’ll try to remember what it was called. It was a blue booklet. With white letters…hmm. I’m task oriented. I remember that!

  • Badcat926

    I think it was DISC or something like it – check this out for more info:

  • Liosliath

    I don’t know if I could stand for that… my sympathy. And good luck in the future!

  • airborneschloss

    Yes, my dear, there are people-oriented people and task-oriented people. I am very much an introvert (getting lots of energy being home by myself every day) and very task oriented (also having a hay-day with so many home projects to do). There are also people-oriented listeners and action-oriented listeners. I will bring all of the instruments that I took last year in my training course and we can go over them together when I am there in October. I always admired you for focusing more on people. I have to work very hard at that. Perhaps the requirements of marriage/home has brought out the real you. The key is balance with a healthy dose of personal time for sleep, exercise, and Scripture study. Realize that when Katherine is born your lives are going to change dramatically as Katherine and her needs require your focus.

  • simply_nikki

    I am definitely a task-oriented person as well! I like the people better, but can’t really enjoy them until my tasks are done. :P

    Personalities aside, though, you seriously ought to be getting more rest, young lady! Matthew, she’s PREGNANT! Lol.

    It sounds like you are getting a lot of freelance work; that is so awesome!

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