People are not all the same. We have different energy levels, make decisions based on different criteria, and structure our lives in different ways, depending on what makes us most comfortable. But if you’re in a commitment-phobic relationship, it’s important that you gain some insight on your partner’s comfort zone and how he/she functions in the world. According to psychologist Carl Jung, people are born with preferences, and how we balance and use these preferences is what makes up a good part of our personality. Most people are balanced between two of these preference types called Judging and Perceiving.
The Judging Types like things to be settled, finished, out of the way, and want the tension off their minds. They are often organizers and planners. Perceiving Types like to keep their options open as long as possible. They have a “let’s wait and see” attitude. To alleviate tension, they may avoid making decisions.
The Commitment-Phobic individual is balanced at 90% perceiving and 10% judging. It’s like having a scale that is tipped over too much to one side. If this should happen, they can often feel trapped by pressure, obligation and commitment. They are frequently likable, adaptable and charming people, always on the lookout for some new adventure or experience. They want their freedom and dislike being controlled. One of the key factors for commitment-phobics is closure. They keep collecting new information rather than drawing conclusions. Only when they have looked at all of the possibilities are they likely to settle down and get married.
Baruch Hashem, this past Labor Day was my wedding anniversary. When I was single, I thought I would never get married. If it wasn’t for my mother, a”h, I would still be single, even today. At age 31 and almost engaged, I was still looking for excuses to back out. But my mother, who had tremendous insight as to what I was feeling, sat next to me and explained that you have to move on to the next stage in life — a level of growth that can only be obtained through marriage and not to be avoided. You are about to marry a wonderful girl and in all probability, she will be your ezer kenegdo. Hashem has sent her to you so that you can balance the scale back to where it belongs. If your are good to her, you will reach a level of growth that you never thought possible.”
I didn’t understand what my mother was talking about, but I did listen! And she was right. Seventeen years and three children later, I still wake up in the middle of the night and look at my wife and children while they’re sleeping. I still can’t believe I’m married! What I did to deserve to have such a good wife and children is beyond me, but I thank Hashem every night for making it happen.
In pre-marital and marital counseling, the awareness of type preferences creates the greatest challenge for couples in establishing satisfying relationships and shalom bayis.
Moishe Herskowitz’ M.S., C.S.W., is a marriage counselor and maintains his private practice in Brooklyn as founder of CPC. He is an educator, lecturer, consultant and adjunct professor at Touro College. He is the counseling coordinator for Career Services at Touro College and the At Risk Center in Brooklyn. Moishe is presently working as a licensed guidance counselor for the NYC Board of Ed. in Special Education. For more information or to obtain a free brochure, please contact Moishe Herskowitz at 4357388 or at CPCMoishe@aol.com.