Marriage & The Fourth Function
Excerpt from Chapter 3 of
“Tracking the Elusive Human, Vol. I” by
Tyra Arraj & James Arraj
In the last two chapters we have covered some of the basics of type recognition and type development, but two of the most important topics remain: types in marriage and the challenge of the fourth function.
At first glance the wonderful and painful experience of falling in love may seem far removed from psychological types, but it isn't. In fact, understanding what falling in love means is one of the best ways to grasp the real meaning of types. When we fall in love we feel a completeness and wholeness deep within ourselves. We are overwhelmed with a feeling of luck and gratitude. It's all too good to be true, and yet it is happening, and we attribute it all to the fact that we have finally found the right person for us.
But if we stop for a moment and look at falling in love from the point of view of types, another picture emerges. As an introverted intuition feeling type, I am comfortable with that introversion, and I feel at ease with my first and second functions, but the other half of my personality, the half that is extraverted, and contains the functions of thinking and sensation, remains buried in my unconscious. But just because I am blind to that half of myself doesn't mean it doesn't make itself felt. I am searching for that other half, but I do it not by looking inside myself, but outward. When I fall in love I am overcome by the feeling that for the first time in my life I am whole. Why? Because you are an extravert, and your first two functions are sensation and thinking. What you are is the mirror image of my unconscious. I cannot see that half of myself, but I can see you, and I am entranced. And you fall in love with me for the same reasons. Together we are perfect. We feel as though we have reached a new level of ecstasy, and we can't bear the thought of being apart.
Falling in love is a special kind of projection. You are my other half, literally, from a psychological point of view, and you are mine. But there is a problem. If I could look at my inner unconscious half, I would see how imperfect, scarred, undeveloped and unruly it is. But by looking only at you I see my own inner half that is free of my own imperfections and splits. It as though the inner half of myself jumped suddenly into the full light of consciousness in wholeness and beauty. So in falling in love with you I am falling in love with the hope and promise that I can be whole and complete.
Unfortunately, we don't understand that there are two processes going on at once. We mistake a promise of wholeness for the actual fact. We think if we could only be together forever our problems would be solved. We make our own sense of completeness depend on the other person. Without being aware of it we have transferred the interior task of our own self-development to our partner. By being with you I no longer have the feeling that I am incomplete within myself, and it is as though, suddenly, by meeting and loving you, I am completely developed, all in an instant.
But even though loving you gives me an intoxicating taste of wholeness, it cannot be the Instant cure for my own imperfections and weaknesses. There is no short-cut to wholeness. There is no way to avoid the difficult and humbling work of dealing with our own other side.
All too soon the magic wears thin. I loved you in the moonlight, and now I find I have to love you over the dishes. We spent hours dreaming of our perfect future together, but now my feet hurt and you come home at the end of the day grouchy and short-tempered. The better I get to know you, the more we struggle through the hassles of daily life, the more I realize, with a sinking heart, that you, my perfect other self, are not so perfect. The compliments turn into complaints, the hand-holding and candle-light dinners give way to the football game, and instead of a bouquet of flowers you bring me a bag of groceries. And I end up feeling cheated. You aren't supposed to make problems for me, you are supposed to help keep us both in heaven. And you, on your part, aren't entirely enchanted anymore either. Instead of gazing into my eyes, you notice the dust. Instead of taking me out to dine you wave a pile of bills in my f ace. And we find ourselves in the painful position of wondering whether we still love each other.
This is when types becomes not only an interesting theory, but the lifesaver to our floundering marriage. The projection of falling in love brought us together, and now we are faced with serious typological dirt time. Now I have to look at myself to see what type I am, you have to look at yourself, and we have to look at each other closely so that we will understand why we fell in love in the first place. But the initial instinct is not to settle down to hard work, but to blame the other for all this unhappiness and disillusion. "You aren't who I thought you were." We were as much in love with the image of our own perfection as we were with the actual, living, breathing other person. And the unfortunate result is that I have an unerring instinct of how to upset you, and you know just the right words to send me crying to the bedroom.
But rather than engage in marital warfare it is time to wake up from our dream of perfection and begin to make that dream into a reality. I projected on you because you are my unconscious half, but I can look at you again and learn from you. You already know how to be strong where I am weak, and vice versa. Now I can take the first tentative steps into my unknown half and begin to experiment with new ways of dealing with myself, you, our marriage, and life. And I am a living model of your own weakest parts. Now is the time when you have to join together as we never have before and work toward mutual wholeness. Now is the time for extra tenderness and compassion as we get our courage up to see just how inadequate we are inside ourselves. Now is the time for long talks and gentle embraces as we face each problem and conflict not with hate and recriminations, but by trust and suggestions. If I break out in a sweat when I know we are going to meet new people, you make sure I am not left alone too long because you know my crippled extraversion is suffering in the crowd. If you bring up negative intuitions about impending doom, I carefully waylay your ungrounded fears with soft reassurances. If I want time, introverted time, alone with you, you give up going out with the boys and spend a few quiet hours with me. If you tend to spend without thinking of our dwindling bank account, I take you aside and we look at our typological differences calmly. It seemed like a tragedy when our projections crumbled into dust in front of our eyes, but now, with types to guide us we can begin to love again, but this time with our eyes wide open. Marriage becomes the vessel in which we can both go on our interior journey.
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