Those who know me know that I am a volunteer with King County 4x4 Search and Rescue (4x4 SAR) We work in conjunction with the Sherriff department and help with operations that require off-road vehicles, such as finding lost hikers or doing road searches. (If you are interested in learning more about this, you can check out the website at http://kc4x4sar.org )
I got into 4x4 SAR about a year ago, and I immediately enjoyed it. Part of it was that I drive a Hummer H2, and doing Search & Rescue work is about the only practical use for such a vehicle. Another part was that it appealed to the side of me that likes to be capable. SAR requires a lot of training in things like off-road driving, wilderness survival, and emergency first aid. Skills that will be handy after the zombie apocalypse. So with these two very manly seeming reasons in hand, I didn’t really think about it in any more detail.
Then a few weeks ago I was talking to W. about various emotional topics and she made the observation that I have a Search and Rescue personality. This sounded very interesting, so I asked her to explain. The theory goes something like this:
Some people take care of things. They monitor things at a low level continuously and make sure that things never stray far from a certain baseline. We can call these people care-takers, and they provide comfort.
Other people solve problems. These folks do not monitor things or prevent problems. In fact, they only come in after a problem has already happened. Just like my search & rescue team is not called in until someone is already lost. We can call these people rescuers, and they provide drama or excitement.
In life, everyone needs both of these things. You need someone to care for you, who can provide comfort and make sure you do not get into trouble. But you also need someone who has your back, who you know that no matter how deep into the woods you get, will still come after you and rescue you, pulling you back to safety. The question is whether one person can do both? Or are they fundamentally in conflict?
Naturally some people need more comforting or more rescuing than others. Maybe you are good at comforting yourself, or maybe you are just a naturally conservative personality and tend not to get into dangerous situations. But for the typical person this is not the case. So you have to have a solution.
When we think about this in the context of marriage, we immediately get to the connection between these personality types and how they relate to passion and romance. What feels more romantic to you? The handsome prince that rides into rescue the damsel in distress? Or the constant protector that keeps the damsel out of distress to begin with?
Related – for those of us who are of a particular type, is there anything we can do (or even should do) to be better at the other? For myself – as someone who is very good at rescue – what can I do to be a more comfortable person to live with?