One of our favorite guilty-pleasure shows is Married at First Sight. As a couple who loves helping others prepare for marriage, the concept of two strangers getting paired and married at first sight is kind of fascinating. After the wedding, they spend the next 8 weeks trying to make the marriage work and getting immediately thrown into conflict, communication, intimacy, and more.
Because the experts on the show tend to pair couples who they believe to be compatible, the couples are usually fairly opposite in their personality styles.
At the end of the show, most couples realize they didn't handle conflict well. 9 times out of 10, it's because one of the partners is an internal processor and the other is an external processor.
When you understand how you and your partner process information, you're able to yield to that processing style and avoid blow out fights, have better communication, and make your partner feel more heard and seen.
Internal processing means you're more likely to turn inward, into your own mind and emotions, rather than outward to the people in your life. (clarityonfire.com) You tend to internalize conflict and need time to process your emotions, thoughts, and feelings.
Signs you might be an internal processor:
On the other hand, external processors talk things out when they need to understand their feelings, resolve conflict, or make big decisions.When you try to organize your thoughts in your mind, it feels like one big jumble; however, when you can talk it out, everything tends to get much clearer. (clarityonfire.com)
Signs you might be an external processor:
There are three main combinations of internal and external processors in marriage:
A quick note about External + Internal: This our combination. Kyler is an external processor while Britt is an internal processor. We typically recommend couples who have this combo yield to the internal processor. It may be frustrating for the external processor to delay the conversation or need some extra patience, but when the internal processor is ready to have a tough conversation, it levels the playing field for a "fair fight" and helps both of you come to the table ready to talk.
Super simple homework: learn your processing style and tell your partner! It should be pretty simple, but knowing this info will help you navigate conflict and communication much more effectively.