The thinker and the feeler

May 27, 2011

in Seeing Clearly

Point of view © Surina Esterhuyse |

“Troublesome relationship pattern #1: one person is a thinker, the other a feeler. Solution: make a commitment to learning from each other.” ~ Gay Hendricks, aka @loveconscious

This is a great quote and in ties in with my recent Who Goes First?. Many differences are not about right and wrong, or good and bad, or even good and better – many differences are just that – differences. Each person must make a real effort to understand the other. Not just an ability to parrot what they say, but an honest attempt to see things from their viewpoint. (Where is that point of view gun when you need it?)

Also, realise that we often need some of what our spouse has. I’m not saying one should be like the other, or both should be the same; rather I mean that we can often benefit from a bit of what they have that we don’t. When my bride and I married, I was rather judgemental – very black and white, and was big on “speaking the truth” without the required love. Lori was on the other end of the scale – tempted to overlook or excuse things in the name of mercy. Over the years, we’ve each gained from the other. We still each lean in the direction in which we once went too far, but now we are both more balanced.

Image Credit: © Surina Esterhuyse |


My question is, how do you balance things out when BOTH of you are feelers? That is a huge struggle in my marriage.

Tom and Debi Walter - The Romantic Vineyard
Tom and Debi Walter - The Romantic Vineyard

We have had the same experience with Tom being more objective and thoughtful (patient), and me being more subjective and emotional (impatient). I'm also quite impulsive and he's N.O.T. But I have changed to become more patient. I used to hate waiting for Tom's answer as he pondered the facts. It seemed like forever. But I have learned there is much wisdom in giving a slow answer. And Tom has become much more spontaneous over the years, allowing for fun times he might have missed on his own schedule. It's a great balance where we've become better as a couple than we could ever be alone.


Paul, let me take this opportunity to thank you for what you and your wife are doing. Over 10 years ago I discovered your website. It helped convince me that I was not crazy no matter what my wife said. The details don’t matter. I just want you to realize that even when I am saying something negative it is about the ideas and not about you and yours. Thank you. One of the things my wife and I discovered was that I was an INTJ and she was an ENTJ. The introverted and extroverted version of the same type, which is supposedly a terrible pairing. Maybe that is what played out in my 31-year marriage and made it impossible for us to see each other’s point of view. After finding this out my wife announces that the Myers-Briggs test was of little more use than a horoscope. What are your feelings about Myers-Briggs?


  1. […] The Thinker and The Feeler – a great comparison that goes well with the blog post above.  Read it and see which one you are, you might be surprised to read of the benefits of both. […]

  2. […] Edited to add: Paul Byerly posted a good take on another aspect of this over on A Generous Husband: The thinker and the feeler. […]

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