Why the INTJ is the Worst Spouse

An ISTJ educates the audience on how to deal with an INTJ significant other

Transcript edited for time and clarity

Joe Arrigo  

The subject of our conversation is why the INTJ is the worst spouse. So that’s me (the INTJ). So the first question I think I want to know is, what about me as the INTJ makes you the most aggravated?

Deanna  

Okay, and this is from an ISTJ perspective, so you have to consider that. But one thing that really bothers me about INTJ is that they’re not detail-oriented. So underdeveloped when it comes to paying attention to detail, it’s very aggravating. So, for example, you just can’t be bothered…if I tell you, hey, the dishwasher needs to be loaded XYZ in a specific order… I’ll give you a reason, because as an ISTJ, I would want that reason, I figured the discussion’s over, we’re good. But it would probably take you three to four times doing it before it would stick.  

Joe Arrigo

It’s not like I don’t want to do a good job. It’s just that as you start to do something physical, I just drift back into my own head sometimes. And then I’m like, ‘Oh, I don’t remember anything she told me about the specifics of the task.’ So all I heard was ‘do the dishes and then everything else I forgot.’

Deanna

It originally was so puzzling to me before I really understood MBTI. Because, as an ISTJ, details matter so much so that if you get the details right, then the big picture comes together. They add up and you get the big picture. But as an INTJ, for you, it’s opposite. You think big picture and you say, ‘all those details, they’ll be filled in later.’

multicolored abstract painting

Joe Arrigo  

Yeah, the picture is what matters, the grand scheme. And then because that seems to be clear in my head, the details will naturally fill themselves in later. It’s just like, as long as I can see it, all the other details fill themselves in. And that’s why I can see myself being annoying to you at first, once you first get in a relationship with an INTJ. So what would you say took you the longest to understand about me?

Deanna  

I like to just soak up the sun and move my body, go hiking, kayaking, anything that’s outside, and getting fresh air. And for you, you’re never really were interested in that at all. If I were to ask you what your ideal day would be, what would you say?

Joe Arrigo  

It would just be sitting reading a book all day. Ideally, it’d be raining outside and it’d be cozy, and I’d be inside next to a fire.

white book near mug

Deanna  

This is how I finally came to understand why you want to be home and read all the time, is that knowledge is power for you. And you can’t ever get it all, you’re always trying to get more and more you’re in search of that. And anything that gets in the way of you obtaining more knowledge just seems frivolous.

Joe Arrigo  

It does seem frivolous. But when I coach INTJ, or NT types, I’ve realized the value of experience that is not directly related to knowledge, like book knowledge. You need the knowledge of different environments, different sensory experiences. So this has been one of my biggest goals is to break out of the mindset that I if I’m not acquiring textual knowledge, that’s a bad thing. It’s not a bad thing.  How do you think we get along so well, then?

woman standing between library book shelves

Deanna  

I think it’s because we’re so independent. I always tell people being married to you is like taking care of a very old cat, as I can just, I can leave all day and leave you at home all day and not feel guilty. Because I know that you’re just gonna pick up a book, you’ll entertain yourself. Because we’re both independent, we can give each other space, and then come back together.

I feel like you’re really good at having faith, like you just know this thing is gonna work out. Whereas for me, I’m always worrying about what’s gonna go wrong. And I’m always sitting around thinking, how can I mitigate it?  Does it excite you if you get to do things you’ve never seen before? For me, it worries me, makes me nervous. 

orange tabby cat on white textile

Joe Arrigo  

Yeah, but it’s not one of my best functions, either, which is Extraverted Intuition, Ne, or what we could call Brainstorming. It’s fun, but I’m not good with scenarios that are outside of something I can see how this would end up.

But my worst trait is literally your best trait, which is Introverted Sensing (Si) or Memory. People that know me would say I can be very forgetful about certain details that we’ve just talked about. That’s where you come in… “Don’t forget” or “Remember last time you tried that?” Thus the ISTJ makes very few mistakes, or rather, does not repeat past mistakes.

Deanna  

My memory is practically etched in stone. Like you said, it’s linked to my sensing and my emotions and if something made me feel a certain way, I can remember that, and I’ll never do it again or I’ll always do it from now on.

brown wooden surface

Joe Arrigo  

Introverted sensation is very keenly aware of the sensations within the body. Whereas me an INTJ, I could say, push through being hungry. I’m not going to focus on my internal self, because I’m pushing through to my goal, which is kind of like the laser focus of the INTJ.

Whereas you’re really good at knowing where you’re at internally, we neglect all internal feeling for goals we’ve set, whether they’re realistic or fantasy land goals. So as an ISTJ, Deanna, what is some advice you can give to the audience for dating or being married to an INTJ?

Deanna 

You have to be able to give them so much space. Give them space to do all their thinking and let them be independent. If you’re someone that is codependent it probably won’t work being married to an INTJ.  I feel like it’s kind of your duty as their spouse or their significant other, to bring them back down to earth.

snow covered rocks at nighttime

Literally pull them back down to earth and be like, ‘Hey, get out of your head,.’  Take them on a walk. “Hey, do you see those birds over there? Look how small they are? Do you hear them chirping? See the flowers?” Get them to develop their sensing abilities. Because they’re always in their head. 

Joe Arrigo  

Yeah! Extraverted Sensing (Se) is what the INTJ is really neglectful of. It’s the actual experiential, what-is-happening-in-front-of-your-face-right-now aspect. When we’re on a walk, my wife will point out something like, “Don’t you hear the birds…Look at that pretty flower.”

If you’re walking by something that’s very colorful, and you are thinking about the next 10 years, are going to be crazy, that’s probably not the best thing for you to be doing at that time. Especially when you’re in nature seeing something beautiful, you gotta be focused on what is in front of you. So yes, that is a very good point there.

brown dirt road between green grass and trees during daytime

Deanna  

If you’re going to be married to an INTJ, don’t tell them what they should be doing. That really, really bothers them. I try to avoid that. But just realize, they can see the future so much, that it’s almost insulting to tell them, ‘you should be doing this. It’s like, ‘No, I’m gonna follow my intuition,  I’ve got this.” Don’t tell them what they should be doing. 

Joe Arrigo  

That’s really interesting. Because we both have Extraverted Thinking (Te)— Action, Effectiveness, whatever you want to call it — in our second slot. I want… what’s the best thing? What’s the most direct? What’s the action I can take now to do that thing I’m thinking of? But it’s totally used in a very different way. When I come to you with an idea, your first thought is, ‘Joe’s coming to me with something I need to solve.’ And it’s not always the case. I’m asking you just to talk with me about it. But you’re looking at this as a puzzle, and are going to give your input.

Deanna  

I instantly jumped to the details of how to fix it right right away, and you’re like, “Hey, I just want to talk about my big ideas with you.” So, to find that delicate balance is kind of tough.  I would say the last advice, if you’re going to choose to marry an INTJ, you have to realize that a lot of times your job is just to be their anchor, their support system.

white and black square illustration

Because they like to think about all these big ideas, they might be implementing a lot of outside-the-box things that I’ve never seen that before. And that makes me uncomfortable!  And so if you’re going to be married to an INTJ, or date an INTJ, be comfortable with then operating that way, because they’re going to keep at it.

Joe Arrigo  

One thing that someone dating an INTJ can learn to develop is to humor them. You don’t necessarily have to believe 100% in their conspiracy ideas, but you have to be like, ‘Okay, well, I guess I could see that… Yeah, like, tell me a little bit more.” You don’t have to always be like pushing back against them. “Can’t I just tell you my crazy idea?”

yellow and white 10 card

Deanna  

And also just don’t just put their ideas out like a fire, right? That won’t work. You know, that’s not what they want at all.

Joe Arrigo  

Right. I think that’s where the arrogance comes in with the INTJ. The idea of, “you just can’t understand me”, which turns to, “no one can understand me, only I can understand myself.” And then you get into this ivory tower of hyper-intellectualism.

Deanna  

Yeah. So just find a spouse that’ll anchor you!


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