You're Not A Very Good Employee

Jane says her husband doesn't hear what she's trying to say when it comes to their debt. Dave tells Jane he may be miscommunicating with Jane because of personality differences.

QUESTION: Jane in Portland is having a difficult time bringing her husband on with the plan, and he doesn’t hear what she’s trying to say when it comes to their debt. Jane also suspects he thinks she should keep track of the budget. Dave tells Jane he may be miscommunicating with Jane because of personality differences.

ANSWER: His personality type is very task- and detail-oriented. It’s not very touchy-feely. You’re quite the opposite. You’re not very detail-oriented and really touchy-feely. At work, when you have a boss that’s that way, he tells people what to do and they go do it. He does not have to persuade them. He does not have to engage in a relationship with them. He gives them an order, and they execute the order. That’s how he bosses at his work. He thinks you’re going to do the same thing and can’t figure out why he can’t make his wife behave. It’s kind of curious to him, because this personality type—and it’s not a bad personality type, just different than you or me—is detail-and task-oriented first and people-oriented last. That doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings or love people. It just means they’re very detail-driven and task-driven. I’m very task-driven as well, but I also have a people side to what I do.

What you’ve got to do is communicate with him, and you guys probably need to sit down with your pastor or a good marriage counselor for a tune-up to teach you how to talk to each other, because he’s treating you like an employee, and you’re not a very good one. By the way, you shouldn’t be. You’re not an employee; you’re a wife, so you shouldn’t be a good employee. I don’t think he’s a bad guy. I think this is a guy having trouble relating to you, and you’re having trouble relating to him. You probably need a little bit of marital coaching on how to do that. He’s got to quit treating you like a robot that he programs and walks away from, because you don’t function well that way. Most of us don’t.

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