What is the INTJ and ISTP relationship dynamic like? Are INTJs and ISTPs compatible for marriage or friendship? In this article and video, I’ll give you a glimpse into this type of marriage relationship. It just so happens that my wife’s grandmother is an INTJ who has been married to an ISTP for 50+ years. Therefore, this article will give you a “case study” example of this relationship.
INTJ and ISTP Relationship
Let me start by giving you a brief overview of these two individuals by sharing some of their personality quirks (though some things I’ll mention are not MBTI related). Keep in mind that this won’t necessarily apply to all ISTPs or INTJs. I’m just trying to give you a sense of who they were as individuals.
The ISTP Male Overview
The ISTP in this relationship was a rough, gruff guy. He was often in a bad mood, and he was a cynical guy.
ISTPs are called “mechanics” by one personality type description, and for good reason–SP types are considered the “Artisans.” Hence, they like to work with their hands doing some task (artwork, mechanics, etc.).
My wife’s grandfather (the ISTP) didn’t have much of a formal education. I’m not even sure if he completed high school, but he did go to the military and eventually completed a program that allowed him to work as an electrician. He then worked for a commercial company, wiring new construction projects for the remainder of his career.
He was an extremely hard worker. In his younger days, he would sometimes work 7 days per week, 12 hours per day doing hard construction work. He earned every dollar he ever made. Unfortunately, work became somewhat of an idol for him. He struggled in his retirement and often felt useless. He’d take on projects by helping people fix their lawnmowers so that he could keep busy.
He loved to work on mechanical projects in his spare time. He would fix lawnmowers, cars, etc. He wasn’t an intellectual guy by any means (he hated reading or discussing ideas), but he was an absolute genius when it came to anything mechanical. He could fix almost anything, usually without instructions or prior guidance. He would even weld new tools that he needed. He also built most of his own house, and he was very skilled in carpentry and general construction techniques–a true jack-of-all-trades.
He was an extremely observant man, which makes sense considering his secondary function of Extroverted Sensing (Se). When he came to my house, it was as if I was being audited by a home inspector. He pointed out any flaw he could find: “Did you know that door was hung crooked? Your grass is getting a little high. It looks like your car could use a bath,” said the ever-observant ISTP.
It was very obnoxious, and he would have hated it if I had done the same thing to him.
He also had a profound sense of smell. He could tell my wife what she had cooked for supper based on the scent left on her clothes. She’d walk into his house to visit, and one of the first things out of his mouth would be, “You cooked enchiladas, didn’t you?” He was right. Weird.
He was also a very outdoorsy guy. He loved to shoot guns, drive fast cars, and so forth. He drove a motorcycle for leisure up until his 70’s. He was spontaneous and didn’t care much for planning.
He didn’t care much for manners, and he was a bit of “rebel.”
The INTJ Female Overview
The INTJ female in this “INTJ and ISTP marriage” was very quiet and respectable. She had good manners. I always got along better with her (INTJs often know their own kind, I guess).
She had worked for some bank or insurance company in her youth, and she did very well in her career. However, she quit when she became pregnant with her first child (she had a total of two), and she never looked back. She spent the remainder of her life as a housewife and mother, a role she perfected. However, she did express some regret for not doing more with her life once her kids moved out.
She worked hard in her role as housewife and mother, and she excelled in everything she did. She was extremely resourceful in the home. She’d organize receipts, keep the financial records, and more. She learned to clean the tubs that butter and other food came in, and she reused them for food storage. She would use canning as a way to preserve food to save money, and she’d clip coupons.
She kept her house very clean, and she was a fantastic cook. She was also very private and guarded with her recipes. As I mentioned in my INTJ female video (which was largely based off of her), she hated when people would ask her for the recipe of something she cooked.
She was a very skeptical woman (aren’t all INTJ females?), and she wasn’t easy to fool. She’d debate telemarketers and put them in their place. She’d listen to any idea but only accept that which she could verify independently or logically.
She loved to read and surf the web. She’d spend hours reading novels when she got older. She didn’t have any fancy clothes or jewelry, and she didn’t like to live on the wild side. She was also a great planner and organizer, and she was smart. In other words, she was a fairly typical INTJ female.
INTJ and ISTP Marriage
Here are a few additional observations from their marriage so that you can get an idea of what it was like.
- They were married for well over 50 years (about 54 now and counting). As far as I know, they were faithful to one another.
- The ISTP would be very spontaneous and decide on a whim that he’d want to go to a parts store to buy a part for a project. I think the INTJ female would get a little annoyed by it, but she managed to adapt.
- The INTJ female would get worn out by the ISTP’s constant projects. He was restless. When he finished one big project, he’d throw himself into another one. It never ended. She’d complain that he was in his shop too much. He’d complain that she spent too much time reading on the computer.
- Neither of them liked social events. They would get too isolated sometimes and only spent time with their kids.
- The ISTP would get annoyed when the INTJ female would correct him on some fact. He had a quick temper, but she was always cool and level-headed. It was funny, too, because she was right 99% of the time when she corrected him, but he’d always say, “She thinks she knows everything! You’re wrong!” He hated admitting that she was right, lol.
- As I mentioned before, the ISTP seemed to measure his self-worth by his work. If he wasn’t working on something, it was as if he felt worthless or lazy. The INTJ female didn’t have this problem. She could relax and enjoy reading and learning.
- The ISTP would have a lot of mood swings. He was either in a good mood or bad mood, and it could change quickly. I’ve read that ISTPs often have a “hot and cold” temperament with their mates, meaning that they are either showing their mates a lot of affection or they are very cold in their relations. That was certainly true for him.
- The ISTP was pretty much a “hands-off” father. He made sure his children were fed and had a roof over their heads, but he wasn’t a very loving or expressive man. He’d rather wash his car than play with his kids. He was often in a bad mood from working so hard.
- He was the breadwinner, and she kept the home and kids (which is a vastly undervalued profession in today’s age, unfortunately).
- He liked to remove the top on his Jeep and drive around. The INTJ female would become annoyed by the wind blowing in her face.
- The ISTP was a bit reckless with money, but the INTJ female was very thrifty with it. He once quipped that they wouldn’t have a dime if it were not for her (he was right). He wanted to buy her jewelry or take her on vacations sometimes, but she wasn’t interested in those things. He had to talk her into a new wedding ring for their 50th wedding anniversary, and she finally agreed.
- They didn’t display a lot of affection to one another. They had a somewhat cold marriage in that sense, but you could tell that they loved each other and were faithful. I think their marriage would have been closer, but the ISTP struggled to say things like “I love you,” even to his grandchildren or children. Perhaps that was a generational or military thing.
- They would often argue or have conflicts, but they didn’t resolve them well. They’d often sweep conflicts under the rug and just pretend that they’d never happen. Sometimes they would apologize to each other, but it wasn’t often.
- They were committed to each other, always there for each other when it counted, and I had a lot of respect for their marriage.
INTJ and ISTP Marriage Tips
Overall, they had a good marriage. They lasted 50 times longer than the average “Hollywood” marriage. She appreciated her husband’s ability to fix stuff. He respected her loyalty and dedication to their home and children.
When people ask me if an INTJ is compatible with “XXXX” type, I always respond with an instant YES! Type doesn’t matter when selecting a mate, period. You’ll have pros and cons with any pairing, even within the same type (INTJ-INTJ relationship). Any pairing can work, but it all depends on the individuals and their willingness to make it work.
I’m an INTJ who is happily married to an ISFJ. I’ve even had people go so far as to write comments like this: “INTJs and ISFJs just aren’t compatible. They don’t even share a single cognitive function!” I just laugh at their ignorance, and then I get off of the computer and snuggle with my wife in bed. Some people are just so ignorant when it comes to MBTI and relationships! Use MBTI to understand your mate, not select your mate, people!
There are INTJs happily married to ISFPs, INTJs, INFPs, ENFPs, ESFJs, ISTJs, and any other type combination you can imagine. I’ve seen every combination. Nevertheless, every marriage has weak points and unique struggles. You have to work them out via communication and compromise, and MBTI can help tremendously with that.
I’d say that the biggest challenges the INTJ-ISTP marriage faced were as follows:
- They didn’t communicate their feelings well. They were both “thinkers,” and they grew up in an era where it was uncomfortable to say “I love you” or express emotions verbally. I think that better communication, flirtation, and conflict resolution could have helped their marriage become even closer.
- He was a bit of jerk. I’m not saying all ISTPs are jerks, but he was a bit of a jerk. I’ve observed that men often set a certain tone within a marriage, and the woman often plays off of his mood and energy. If he had been a more loving, kind man, I think their marriage would have been better. He could have focused a bit more on her and a bit less on himself and his projects. I think she even complained at times that he just didn’t show her enough affection.
- They should have made more time to spend together. They would busy themselves with tasks, and that’s just how their marriage worked. If they had cut out those unnecessary tasks and just talked, laughed, and did things together more often, they would have been closer.
- J vs P differences: Judging types can become annoyed by the spontaneous nature of perceiving types. Perceivers often feel that “J” types are too rigid and set in their plans. She definitely didn’t like his constant projects or desire to do something on a whim. He didn’t seem to like how she needed time to plan for things.
- S vs N differences: Sensing types (Se) like to live in the moment and even work with their hands. Intuitive types (especially NTs) like to theorize and understand things. Therefore, communication differences can arise over time, but you just have to understand each other’s quirks and preferences. Communicate about common interests, and find other outlets (friends, online forums) to talk about topics your spouse isn’t interested in discussing.
In conclusion, ISTPs and INTJs can make a wonderful life and marriage together. I’m thankful for the INTJ-ISTP marriage I described above, because I would have never met my wife (the love of my life) if it had not been for their relationship. My wife loved her grandparents very much, and she often considered them to be her “parents.”
The “case study” above proves that the two can succeed in marriage. Nevertheless, it’s up to the individuals in any marriage pairing to work on understanding the differences in their personality types. You have to communicate, compromise, and remain committed to one another.
Have any of you observed or experienced an INTJ and ISTP pairing? If so, you can leave a comment on the YouTube video above to share your experiences or observations (good and bad).