I'm A Type-A Married To A Type-B — The Strange Way We Make It Work

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Call me obsessive, anal, rigid, or any other similar adjective, and you'll be right.

I'm a Type A personality to the max. And that's not just based on opinion. As a young psychology student, I was subjected to all manner of personality tests, and they all agreed: I'm one uptight lady.

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I love organization. I thrive on order. Unplanned events make my blood pressure rise and my heart race.

My blouses, my towels, and even my (folded) underwear are arranged by color (isn't everyone's?). I once made the mistake of confiding to a coworker that I liked my underwear to match my outfit, and from then on she'd loudly announce, "So! Your blouse is pink, and so is your underwear!" to the entire office.

And then I got married to a Type-B personality.

Our first fight was because he hadn't made the bed. He got up last, so he should make the bed, right? How on earth can someone get into an unmade bed at the end of a long day? I insisted he makes it before I went to bed. He looked at me as if I were crazy, but he made the bed. And I slept well. I really did.

Given the differences in our personalities, we've had some adjustments to make in our marriage. I wanted things to be done on a schedule, and he pointed out to me that my schedule wasn't necessarily his schedule. This was actually a shock to me, something I'd never considered.

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Saturdays were for cleaning the house. Was it possible that not everyone felt that way? He seemed to think that Saturdays were for (gasp!) relaxing and having fun. But how can anyone have fun when there's so much work to do? His explanation, "The laundry will be there tomorrow" nearly sent me into cardiac arrest.

For the first couple of years of our marriage, I would quietly seethe (or, according to him, not so quietly seethe) as he sat watching football while I did laundry, mopped floors, and made beds.

"You said you'd help me!" I'd accuse, furious. After all, we both worked, but my hours were longer and my job more demanding. He'd look at me calmly, and say, "I will. The weekend isn't over yet, and I'm watching the game."

One weekend, during our routine argument, he suggested a solution, surprisingly simple. "Listen," he said. "Let's set a timeframe. I'll get all my chores done by eight o'clock tonight. Okay? That way, you know I'll do them, and you won't get upset. And I'll get to enjoy the day without you nagging me."

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Because I thought his solution was amazingly brilliant, I ignored the "nagging" comment and quickly agreed. He was true to his word, and that one simple suggestion made all the difference.

Over the years, we've developed a good balance.

My organizational skills help us to remain on track with future goals and finances, and his more relaxed approach to life helps us to maintain the fun, spontaneous atmosphere that makes our marriage work. Plus, he makes the bed.

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Melinda Clayton is a licensed psychotherapist in the states of Florida and Colorado and has over 18 years of experience working with couples and families in crisis.