Thinking Out Loud

January 29, 2019

I Broke the Enneagram

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 10:58 am

I’ve never felt compelled to do personality tests. For the past two decades, the Christian blogosphere — and now also the Twitterverse — have been filled with people noting what “type” they are, but I’ve always looked at these things from a distance.

But a week ago Sunday it was assigned homework; part of a series we’re doing on discovering how we’re wired and I decided it was time to take the plunge.

The first one I did was Myers-Briggs. I’d have to say that I concur with the results and found the test to be both helpful and accurate.

But then I tried the Enneagram.

Then I did something called the DISC test.

Then I did the colors test. I didn’t even screenshot the results of that one.

I know these tests are highly endorsed by Evangelicals and Mainline Protestants alike. I think it’s InterVarsity Press (IVP) that has done a few books related to interpreting the Enneagram.

I do know that would recommend the Myers-Briggs test. (I can probably get another blog post out of my result at some point in the future. For the record, my wife and I did these tests together and on Myers-Briggs we were polar opposites on everything; not entirely news to us!)

What I also know is that there are people in our church who left when the pastors started talking about ‘spiritual practices,’ ‘contemplative theology,’ ‘Lectio Divina,’ and other things which were, for lack of a better term, foreign to their prior church experience.

To them, this probably seems just a little bit short of palm reading or Tarot card reading. After all, there’s no mention of the Enneagram in scripture.

I disagree. If James Dobson — has he been canonized yet? — taught us nothing else, if that’s we can learn beneficial things from secular Psychology. Or was that Larry Crabb? These things need not be seen as in conflict with, or a threat to, our core beliefs.

…This week we were referred to the Holland/RIASEC test which has six “strengths.” I haven’t done the online test yet, but in the discussion part of Sunday, where you were supposed to choose the one you felt which best represented you, I realized that there are two which don’t, but the other four were locked in a tie.

Perhaps I’m the exception which proves that the tests are indeed helpful. For everyone else.


Free versions of the tests which we were referred to:

Myers Briggs
www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp
www.123test.com/personality-test [This link also leads to the Holland/RIASEC test]
www.16personalities.com [This is the one we did.]

DISC
www.123test.com/disc-personality-test

Enneagram Test
www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/test-2

Test color
www.testcolor.com/personalitytest/personalitytest.php

 

December 10, 2018

Thoughts on the Popularity of DNA Testing

This weekend we were discussing the popularity of DNA testing sites like Ancestry.com (or Ancestry.ca in Canada) and 23andMe.com (the latter’s name referring to the 23 pairs of chromosomes in normal cells) which, along with a handful of other similar companies can provide a profile based on the DNA sample you send. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it involves mailing your spit — the preferred term is saliva — to a testing site where you are then supplied with fairly specific information about your ethnic roots. A broader term to describe the services of such companies would be genealogy testing.

Not all that surprising is that Ancestry website’s roots lie in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a quasi-Christian religion which has specialized in genealogical research owing to a belief in something called “baptism for the dead;” a form of proxy baptism for departed relatives carried out in the Church’s temples on behalf of people who did not have the opportunity to receive the rite (or ordinance) in life. The more detailed version of their belief is that the departed can then accept or reject the rite carried out on their behalf, as in, ‘I know you drove 300 miles to the nearest temple so I could get into the Kingdom of God, but I think I’ll continue to try my odds as an atheist.’

Without getting into details about the nature of the reports people received, I wanted to share here three reasons why I think the tests resonate with people outside of the CofJCofLDS.

Identity

I think that people today want to know who they are.

It’s interesting to consider as we approach the Christmas season that the genealogies at the beginning of The Gospels often create many yawns as the text are read, not to mention the dread of being chosen to do such a reading and having to navigate the pronunciation of all those names. But the people in Biblical times knew their family history just as sure as you know several dozen user names and passwords today. They would even recognize areas where we’re told the texts we have contain shortcuts or deviations from the standard form; as well as the scandal of inclusions like Rahab. Seriously, Rahab? Not in my family tree, please.

If you have a child who has memorized the Periodic Table of Elements; it’s the same type of crowning achievement to be able to go back generation after generation without mistakes. (‘Morris was the son of Franklin, who was the son of Percival, who was the son of Ira, who was the son of August…’)

Today, we have so many children who were adopted. Children of divorce. Children who were supplied false information. Many people aren’t entirely sure who their fathers and mothers are, let alone any history dating prior to those parents.

So DNA testing is a step down that path. Which brings us to…

Community

Ethnicity is only one component of identity. A love for a certain branch of the arts or a certain sport would be another. There are those who identify in terms of their political leanings or their faith. There are yet others whose primary identification is in terms of where they reside now.

But knowing ethnic roots gives one identification in terms of a nation or tribe. Being Navajo, or Italian, or Norse gives one a potential community with which to connect. (The websites also potentially provide means of making those connections more specific, including connecting people with lost siblings.)

Of course, knowing such things also has a certain caché, which brings us to…

Trendiness

This Christmas, many people will find a DNA testing kit gift-wrapped under the tree. At a list price of $99 (though frequently on sale) this type of gift is a luxurious, First World indulgence.

The same people who need to know their DNA are the same ones who also need to know their Myers-Briggs type (mine is ASAP) or their Enneagram number. In a previous century the Astrological Sign would suffice for some people. (I don’t believe in Astrology, but then again, we Geminis are naturally skeptical.)

DNA testing is the latest rage. Some will see it as a diversion, but others are heavily invested in the results. If those findings differ from anything you ever believed about yourself up until that point in time, I can imagine the results could go as far as to be life-altering.


Health

Update: I decided not to discuss the health factor for the reason outlined in a reply to a comment, but I do encourage you to read the response from @George whose story says it better than I would have.


Appendix 1 – Who Am I by Petula Clark.

Appendix 2 – Who Am I by Casting Crowns

Appendix 3 – The I Am Poster

August 12, 2018

I’m Proof That IQ Tests Alone are Not a Descriptor of Intelligence

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:57 am

I’m one of those kids who skipped a grade in elementary school. Well, I effectively skipped, doing grades 3, 4 and 5 in two years. To use the term in use at the time, I was accelerated.

As early as High School I found myself questioning that process. It wasn’t just that I was surrounded by students a year older, but I was beginning to realize that IQ testing alone doesn’t prove overall intelligence. A gifted student is one thing and one thing only: Gifted at test-writing. And a certain type of test-writing at that.

As I get older, there are times I feel downright stupid, for lack of a better word. For example:

  • Organization: I can back-time things so that I get places in a timely manner, but putting the actual schedule together necessary to create those time deadlines is another matter entirely.
  • Adaptation: I am realizing that I have a tremendous capacity to be overwhelmed. Especially in unfamiliar situations.
  • Mechanics: You’ve heard of people who can take things apart, but can’t put them back together again? Well, I can’t take them apart. My made up word for my condition (which uses the 2nd word incorrectly) is “mechanical derisions.”
  • Spatial Perception: If we’re going on a long trip, it’s a given that my wife will pack the trunk of the car. I’m not avoiding work; I will do all the unpacking and carrying-in of everything; I just find placing the puzzle pieces together daunting.
  • General Perception: I can stare right at something and not see it. Maybe it’s because I was working next door to a pet food store, but the word I came up with for this was “visual dysplasia.”
  • Communication: This one, I know will astound you, given that I am writer, but perhaps in my penchant for making up words as in the two examples above, it becomes clear that at times, I have a bit of a contempt for language instead of utilizing it properly.
  • Memorization: This is an age thing, but my ability to commit things to memory is definitely on the decline. Especially peoples’ names.

So what do I get right?

People who find themselves weak in certain areas will often go out of their way to compensate. I feel that what I bring to the table are:

  • Connectivity: The ability to network people, resources and organizations, to create instant analogies which help people understand.
  • Humor: A good sense of humor will save you in all types of situations.
  • Compassion: I was advised not to go into pastoral ministry because I’m “not thick-skinned enough.” I took that as a bit of a compliment.
  • Creativity: Not everyone you meet will write a book (or start a blog), or compose a song, or paint an abstract landscape, or prepare an amazing meal.
  • Quick Thinking: The ability of think on your feet will also save you in various circumstances.
  • Faithfulness: I see this as a spiritual value above all, but sticking it out will earn you the respect of people.
  • Faith: Distinct from the above, even misplaced faith is at the very least a recognition that there are powers and forces which are transcendent, which I would argue leads to…
  • Humility: I think a humble spirit will get you further in life than arrogance.

The point is…

…we’re all not the same. Even so-called smart people can be smart in different areas, hence the idea of multiple intelligences, which I can’t mention without sharing the graphic below. But because this is long already, and it’s the weekend, we’ll leave it there!

Image: Source

March 15, 2018

“What Are You Like?”

A girl once asked me the question, “What are you like?”

I had basically forgotten this, until I watched something last night where the main characters were updating online dating profiles which basically answered the same question, “What are you like?” Or if you prefer, “Describe yourself.”

It occurred to me that the order of things is now reversed. Back in the day, there was some context in which you got to meet someone: Work, school, church, neighborhood, etc. There had already been superficial contact and visual recognition.

Then you decided to deepen the relationship by probing deeper — getting to know each other one-on-one — by asking questions like the one above.

But today, couples share their self-description of their personality, guiding principles, experiences, aspirations, preferences, etc.; long before they ever come into physical proximity.

Another way of putting this: Instead of the kid you met at camp who agrees to become a pen pal (a dated notion if there ever was one), it’s the pen pal who agrees to meet up (which admittedly did happen from time to time; hence the ‘Pen Pal Wanted’ ads in the back of magazines). Intimacy (in terms of personality and mental insights) precedes contact.

There is a lot riding on your writing ability, and no, I’m not offering to help you draft your profile description. If you can say what you want to say, the way you want to say it, that’s great; but the chances of misinterpretation are many, and with some people, spelling counts as does grammar. It’s the ultimate creative writing assignment.

It’s the same with a picture. Without a budget allocation, your best bet is to at least have someone take the picture for you, and in good lighting. But no picture tells it all. I was once set up on a blind date by a friend with a girl who happened to have 8 x 10 head-shot glossy pictures. (Not sure what you call them in Europe, but the size of an A4 sheet.) I found that rather strange, but she did look good in those poses. So I said yes. She was indeed the same as her picture, but Barry, my friend at the time, had held the picture out to me at the same height as he was standing, whereas the picture should have been held somewhere around his stomach. She was short. Very short. Can’t-get-past-it short. She deserved a guy who was more on her level.

Given an hour of angst to sweat it out writing a description, with thesaurus nearby, you can probably come up with something rather appealing. But asked live and in the moment, “What are you like?” you’re probably going to be more authentic, once you get past the shock of the question itself. And better to do this sooner, than later; better to not like other things — like the physical attraction part — get ahead of really knowing the person.

My answer? I honestly can’t remember what I said in the moments that followed.

November 19, 2017

Emotional Inventory: A Sunday Confessional

A few years ago at church service we attended, a well known couple in the church — the pastor called them a “power couple” — shared a little of their journey through marriage counseling earlier in the year. It sounds like they were facing some rough challenges, and it would be easy for someone to be smug and say, “Boy, I’m glad our marriage never got to that.”

But then I got thinking about the whole idea of counseling. Some very high profile pastors go to counselors on a regular basis and are very public about it. I’ve never been mostly because I can’t afford it; it would be an expensive luxury given our budget.

What would a counselor find?

As I thought about this I realized that my emotional life is characterized by a number of negative things. I mentally listed seven yesterday, but can only recall five today. I’m going to be very honest with this confession, and this on a blog that tends not to get personal. For simplicity, these are alphabetical:

  • anxiety, apprehension, fear, worry — about health, finances, the children, the health of extended family members, business, etc. (This one concerns me the most, as worry and trusting God are spiritually incompatible.)
  • indecision — not that I can’t make decisions, but I feel like I don’t have a good track record, and therefore I don’t trust myself to make good ones (This one makes it hard to move forward; I tend not to plan things.)
  • isolation — for most of my life I’ve been flying solo in business and ministry projects; it would be nice to play on a large team sometime (This one flares up at the oddest times.)
  • regret — not that I spend a lot of time looking back, but as the song says, “Regrets, I have a few…” (This one probably brings out the greatest sadness, reminding me of another song, “If I Could Turn Back Time.”)
  • rejection — with a common thread to the isolation mentioned above, a lot of projects I’ve tried to start just haven’t clicked with the Christian community (This one just makes me angry, I feel like it’s other peoples’ loss.)

I could flesh these out in greater detail, but basically, these are some things I have been dealing with over the years, and it’s not a very happy list.

But I think it’s a very accurate picture of what lurks beyond the superficial, and while I don’t expect to resolve all these today, by sharing them here, you just saved me a few of the initial counseling sessions! I should also add that my days are not spent focusing inward; I don’t see myself as a candidate for depression, rather, these are themes that are lurking in the background. 

Furthermore, I am a great believer in transparency. I would never want my readers to think that I am something more than I am, or that I have everything together spiritually. James 3:2a notes that “Indeed, we all make many mistakes.” Proverbs 24:16a reminds us that “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.” The conceit of appearing spiritually superior is much more dangerous than confessing one’s inadequacies. I’d much rather write a blog post which says, “These are my spiritual weaknesses;” than write one boasting that “These are my spiritual strengths.”

So now that I’ve left myself emotionally naked and vulnerable today — can’t wait to see what the search engines do with that phrase — does this resonate with any of you? You guys don’t leave a lot of comments, but this would be a good day…

Scripture quotations NLT at BibleHub.com

June 23, 2013

Backstage

Filed under: character, writing — Tags: , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 11:11 am

Awhile ago, my oldest son wrote a piece that continues to be one of this blog’s top ten posts for traffic; so it seemed only fair to have you meet my youngest son…

the part nobody sees

Backstage

by Aaron Wilkinson

Every now and then I have a dream that changes the way I see myself. It’s like when I fall asleep and stop trying to overthink the world my subconscious mind gets a chance to offer a new interpretation or understanding of something I’ve been entirely blind to. Recently, there has been one in particular that I keep remembering.

I’m on stage. In a play. The audience is every friend, every acquaintance, every person I have ever met or interacted with at all. Being my egotistical self, I was playing the main character. The audience ‘ooh’ed and ‘aah’ed and gasped and laughed as I recited my lines and went through the motions with precision and artistry. The performance ended. Standing ovation. Myself and the other faceless actor’s bowed. After the curtain closed I stepped through the curtain and invited my friends backstage.

Suddenly the expressions of awe and admiration were replaced with confusion and disappointment. Some went backstage. Others just left. The ones that did inspected the scene and the props. They spoke with the other actors. Then I approached a group of them that were my closest friends. They introduced themselves. They had no idea who I was and no interest in finding out. Then I woke up in tears.

I think the moral of the story if fairly obvious. I don’t actually believe that no one knows who I really am but I believe that I often make that knowledge hard to achieve. I get scared of what people will think of me when I’m not ‘performing’. When there’s no objective, no expectation, and no script what’s left of me? How much of what people know of me is a character I play or an imposter I’m unaware of?

How often do I invite people backstage? How often do you? The tagline for this blog is ‘a library of unfinished works’. Some of my friends will know that I love the idea of what I call ‘thoughts without conclusions’. Just bouncing ideas and asking questions for the purpose of figuring out what we don’t know. Seeing what we still need to see. Recognizing what is still unfamiliar. With that in mind I’m still trying to figure out the answer to the questions: what is backstage and how can I let people in there more often.

December 21, 2012

God Made You Special and He Loves You Very Much

Filed under: personal — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 9:32 am

I can’t remember which famous statesman said what forms today’s headline.  Was it Larry the Cucumber or Bob The Tomato?

I said yesterday that I’d skip the story of changing the headlight on our car. It’s very self-deprecating. And actually, my wife did most of the work. The last time we did a headlight we both ended up cut and bleeding. We really should leave these things to the experts, but as Orison said in the original 22 Words blog, “That costs dollars. I don’t have any dollars.”

There was a video online explaining how to change the headlight on a car of the same make and model. I clicked on it only to discover it was over 32 minutes long. Definitely not encouraging.

The scene of the crime

The scene of the crime

Other challenges that defeat me include changing the fluorescent light bulbs in the ceiling of the place where I work, and adjusting the shelving in the same location.

“God, why did you make me so stupid?”

I’ve actually prayed that.

More than once.

I tell everyone I have “mechanical derisons;” even though it’s not the correct usage for ‘derision.’ Maybe I have grammatical and syntactical derisons as well.  I have a flight-response that makes me want to run from the battle.

Actually, I’m not stupid. I skipped a grade in elementary school; a history I share with my wife. They don’t let anyone do that. I was accepted into the Julliard School of Dentistry. (Okay, not the last one, but I do have a BA from a prestigious university, which, as the Apostle Paul would say, “I count as rubbish.”)

I’m just not good at everything.

Surprise!  Who is?

Here’s Romans 12:6:

NIV: We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us

Weymouth: We have different gifts because God has blessed us in different ways

NLT: In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.

MSG (5b): …let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.

AMP: Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them.

…You know what? Everybody has something that humbles them. Everyone has something about which they are hypersensitive. Everybody experiences what it’s like to covet someone else’s gifts and abilities.

Maybe you can’t cook anything beyond making toast.
Maybe you can’t do your own tax returns.
Maybe you can’t land a basket when shooting hoops to save your life.
Maybe you’re short.
Maybe you’re short on cash all the time.
Maybe you are tone deaf and church services serve as a constant reminder.
Maybe you suck at open heart surgery.

The point is we all have things that remind us that we are meant to live in community.

But I’ll bet you have a gift or talent that God can use to serve someone this weekend.

So do that thing.

 

November 12, 2012

Taking Emotional Inventory: Revelations and Confessions

Filed under: personal — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 11:39 am

I have no idea what the post title implies. It just looked good. Then again, I have a fairly good idea.

Yesterday I attended two different morning services at two churches. In the second one, a well known couple in the church — the pastor called them a “power couple” — shared a little of their journey through marriage counseling earlier in the year. It sounds like they were facing some rough challenges, and it would be easy for someone to be smug and say, “Boy, I’m glad our marriage never got to that.”

But then I got thinking about the whole idea of counseling. Some very high profile pastors go to counselors on a regular basis and are very public about it. I’ve never been mostly because I can’t afford it; it would be an expensive luxury given our budget.

What would a counselor find?

As I thought about this I realized that my emotional life is characterized by a number of negative things. I mentally listed seven yesterday, but can only recall five today. I’m going to be very honest with this confession, and this on a blog that tends not to get personal.  For simplicity, these are alphabetical:

  • anxiety, apprehension, fear, worry — about health, finances, the children, my mom’s health, business, etc. (This one concerns me the most, as worry and trusting God are spiritually incompatible.)
  • indecision — not that I can’t make decisions, but I feel like I don’t have a good track record, and therefore I don’t trust myself to make good ones (This one makes it hard to move forward; I tend not to plan things.)
  • isolation — for most of my life I’ve been flying solo in business and ministry projects; it would be nice to play on a large team sometime (This one flares up at the oddest times.)
  • regret — not that I spend a lot of time looking back, but as the song says, “Regrets, I have a few…” (This one probably brings out the greatest sadness, reminding me of another song, “If I Could Turn Back Time.”)
  • rejection — with a common thread to the isolation mentioned above, a lot of projects I’ve tried to start just haven’t clicked with the Christian community (This one just makes me angry, I feel like it’s other peoples’ loss.)

 I could flesh these out in greater detail, but basically, these are some things I deal with, and it’s not a very happy list.

But I think it’s a very accurate picture of what lurks beyond the superficial, and while I don’t expect to resolve all these today, by sharing them here, you just saved me a few of the initial counseling sessions!   I should also add that my days are not spent focusing inward; I don’t see myself as a candidate for depression, rather, these are themes that are lurking in the background.

So now that I’ve left myself emotionally naked and vulnerable today — can’t wait to see what the search engines do with that phrase — does this resonate with any of you? You guys don’t leave a lot of comments, but this would be a good day…

October 30, 2011

I am a Bigot

But hopefully I am a bigot in recovery.

When I was 15 I got my first job at a discount department store in Toronto.  When I say, “discount department store,” it was actually a two-level enterprise with multiple locations across the city.  Because my job allowed me to roam the store somewhat freely, I got to meet people in different departments on different floors.

One of them was a girl I was trying to describe to another staff member who needed to contact her regarding some kind of inter-departmental business.  “She’s about 5’6″;” I said; “And skinny, and dark hair which is frizzy, and she usually wears round glasses with dark rims.”

He still couldn’t place her.

“She always works the cash registers by the north exit; or the ones at the mall exit;”  I continued.

Nothing. 

Then I remembered, “Oh yeah, she’s black.”

I think I said “black.”  Or “African American.”  Or whatever the currently appropriate adjectives were needed.

Either way, I was somewhat proud of the fact that in describing her height, her hair, or her glasses; the nature of her race hadn’t quite occurred to me as significant.  Clearly, there was not a racist bone in my body.

Archie Bunker; but sometimes bigotry isn't so overt

But later in my teenage years, I discovered I had a strong aversion to people with red hair.  This was several generations before the animated-sitcom-inspired “Kick a Ginger” campaign; I had simply had a few run-ins with people of the carrot-top persuasion and had formed some generalizations.

Around the same time, I began to have issues with left-handed people.  There was nothing particular sinister about this — sorry, couldn’t resist — I had just had some conflicts with some left-handed people and had started to form some prejudices and biases.

The problem — as if there wasn’t a problem already — was that I actually knew a handful of people who were both red-haired and left-handed.  God help them.

However, I outgrew all this, and today I am glad to report that some of my best friends… well, you get the idea.

The problem is, I’m still a bigot.

For the past decade or so, my bigotry has been directed against people who drive black pickup trucks.  In the area where I live, they are legion, and it doesn’t help that many of them, for the same reason they wanted a black pickup truck in the first place, drive like idiots. Or people fleeing a crime scene. Or both.

To me, the mark of what makes a person, what writes their inner programming, what motivates their actions; the mark of these things is the way a person drives a motorized vehicle.  Forget having a resumé or a CV or a page on LinkedIn.  If I am the HR person considering hiring you, all I would need to do is spend 30 minutes as a passenger in your car, van or truck.  (Or whatever class of vehicle a Hummer is, though at this point, I can tell you that you’re not getting the job.)

A guy in our church had a black pickup truck.  That was a difficult one for me to wrap my brain around.  But he got rid of it, solving the problem.  I’m not sure if it changed my relationship with him; rather, I think he’s become a kinder, gentler person for not having it.  But I digress; plus, I think his wife reads this blog.

These people shouldn’t drive the way they do.  The epitomize the selfishness that is at the core of sin. They need deliverance.  And they need to sell the truck.  If it’s absolutely necessary to their work or hobbies, then they at least need to paint it beige, or green or light blue.

But of course, the problem is me.  I am pre-judging people before I’ve even met them; and while my generalizations have statistical backup, I’m not operating according to Rule of Love.

I have triumphed in many ways.  I never got into racial bias.  But I traded my feelings toward the redheads and the backhand-writers for feelings about people who have a thing for having a certain type of machine parked in their driveways.

So, what about you?  Are there some hidden biases and prejudices you find present over things strange or trivial?  Is this an area that you feel God would have you change?

July 16, 2010

Did You Get The Person You Married?

Jacob thought he was getting married to Rachel.    He wakes up the next morning to discover he’s actually married to Leah.

It sounds like another one of those Old Testament stories, but in fact, it happens all the time.   People wake up one day maybe a month, a year, or a decade after the wedding; they look at their partner and they say, “This isn’t the person I said ‘I do’ to.”

Sometimes the changes are minor; the person gains a little weight or suddenly wants to take up ballroom dancing.   Other times it’s more severe.

The balance of this blog post first appeared here a year ago, but the problem of “expectations” in marriage is one that doesn’t go away…

glasbergen - marriage

  • When she married him, D. was a party animal. The first year of their married life, a quarter of their budget was concert tickets. But now he sits in the recliner reading John Grisham novels.
  • S. made it quite clear about seven years into the marriage that she was no longer into church. Just stopped going. Her husband is a bit perplexed, and ends up taking the kids himself, which leaves the people there asking questions.
  • M. said she was a dog lover, and J. didn’t like cats, so it seemed perfect; but now M. says she doesn’t want a dog in the house.
  • Y. knew when she married F. that he had smoked a cigarette or two, but never expected all these years later to be married to a confirmed smoker; especially in view of all the scientific data we now have.
  • T. was the picture of health when they got married, so V. never expected he’d be spending his life playing both husband and nurse.
  • R. had never spent a lot of time around kids; was never a babysitter; and made it clear to B. she wanted a small family. That was five kids ago.

A lot of people wake up one morning and realize that they’re not married to the person they walked down the church aisle with. (A strange expression, since most brides walk down the aisle with their father, to whom they had better not be married.)

Much of the tension in marriage is due to a crisis of expectations. It reminds me of the book title, This Isn’t The Trip I Signed Up For. Judging it from Day One, it didn’t look like it would be like it is today.

Today’s question is, do you think this is the norm or the exception? Is it better that “people change” than if they don’t change at all? Does it matter how long a couple dated or were engaged, or do the “surprises” in marriage happen regardless?

And of course: What changed in your partner after the wedding? Did you change? Did the marriage survive?

And yes, you’re allowed to say, “My marriage is fine, but I have this friend…”

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