Understanding the Wow versus How People in a Relationship

I was listening to a podcast the other week (forget which one of a million it was that I heard), and the interviewee was talking about how most marriages, partnerships, and relationships have a ‘Wow’ person and a ‘How’ person.

The Wow person is someone that often consistently comes up with ideas that some may think are very wow-worthy. They think big, fast, and sometimes unrealistically. They are loud about their ideas and want to share them with the world. They are proud of how they think and believe that almost anything is possible at the moment without much research. The problem is, when that ‘world’ is their wife or husband, it can seem unbearable and can cause anxiety.


Enter the How person. This is someone who thinks deeply about the logistics of something. When presented with an idea, they immediately go to the ‘how’ of getting it done. They rarely bask in the wonder of the idea itself and often think how-the-hell-is-that-possible and who-the-F-is-going-to-make-that-happen?

The funny thing about these contrasting types is that both need each other. The Wow person needs someone more realistic to bring them down from cloud 9 before they decide that selling all their life's possessions and moving to a new city in a country they’ve never been before is a great idea. The How person, on the other hand, needs that little nudge (or sometimes big PUSH) to take more risks or any risks for that matter. The How person can quickly get stuck in mundane routines and rarely step outside of their comfort zone. Their growth is based on baby steps and genuinely believe that, no matter what, the turtle will always win the race.

The hare is the Wow person.
The turtle is the How person.

They both have their advantages.
As Abby Lawson puts it  “I keep my husband from jumping, and he keeps me closer to the edge.”

So, how can you better understand the How and Wow person?
Which one are you?
How can you possibly live with one another?

Well, I have some suggestions for you.

1 - Stay Enthused

Whether you’re the Wow person or the How person, keep a positive perspective on the others interest (or lack thereof, haha!) Just because a Wow person has some crazy idea, does not mean he will execute on it. Sometimes he just needs to think out loud and let his own voice guide him to talking his way out of it.

As a How person, practice your “cool” and “awesome” reaction with a head nod. Make believe it’s a great idea unless it’s an absolutely terrible one in which someone could get hurt or you could go bankrupt. In that instance, shut him up asap!

Basically, stroke their ego.

As a Wow person, understand that sometimes your ideas will make your How partner anxious. It may not be intentional, but know that the moment you drop an idea bomb on them, they WILL be scrambling to think about how it will work, what they need to do to get it done, and what they will need to compromise because of it. This does not mean you have to censor all your Wow moments, just be cautious about what you’re suggesting. Keep up your enthusiasm as your How partner clearly needs it. And, for whatever reason, they may be pulling you down from your big hairy audacious idea (BHAI), keep an open mind to their reasoning.

2 - If it will potentially bankrupt you, censor it

Hey Wow-sters. Yes I am talking to you, you Wow people [I can speak like this because I am married to the wowest of wowsters and you guys need a PSA.]

So here is the scoop, if you have an idea or you are doing a thing that may potentially kill you, or make you go bankrupt and you’re in the thick of it, but you genuinely believe that it will make a positive impact, then please censor the discussions around this thing/idea until it’s necessary to share with your How person.


For example, say you’re thinking about taking out a second mortgage for a flip house and the markets hot and the fixer-upper is a great steal of a deal. Don’t discuss the idea to the How person until you’ve collected all the answers and information to all of the possible questions your how partner will have. Sorry hunny, this may mean doing some work before you verbally vomit your excitement all over them. They may not be enthused and can quickly squash the opportunity before you even say ‘mortgage.’

3 - Failure is ok, so go for it sometimes

Hey How person (my peeps!) I get you. You’re cautious and conservative. You likely get anxious when the leftovers in the fridge aren’t getting eaten and your husband suggests another dinner out. But hey, he needs your cautiousness and you, well, you need his live-a-little attitude. Really ask yourself, what’s holding you back sometimes? Why do you over think things so much?

Everything is figuroutable.

If you fear failure or constantly have these stories swirling around your head about why things can’t be a certain way or why something sounds impossible to do, you need to let it go. Sometimes you just need to go for it. Take the chance and make the leap. No one ever made progress without taking risks.

4 - Nothing is ever set in stone

The Wow person says things out loud sometimes not really hearing themselves or paying attention to the details. They don’t care about the details until it’s time to take action. And, oftentimes, that action never even happens. How many times have you as a Wow person or married to a Wow person executed on the craziest idea? If you’re like Steve Jobs, you are more proud of the 100 things you said no to.  “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are.” I am not suggesting the Wow person is like Steve Jobs, (haha wouldn’t that make their heads explode!?) what I am saying is that is your a How person trying to understand the underlying motivation in the craziest of ideas, please know, it’s not likely set in stone.

5 - Boredom breeds in the mundane

The Wowsters hate mundane. Time to recoup, Netflix and Chill, sure, but not living a life of the same old. The grind is important, but the grind can quickly smoosh the excitement of life. The Wow people need to shake things up once and a while in order to feel free and as though they’re living a life full out.

The How people are often ok with a more predictable life and routine. They have ideas too and big ones, but will do the research before making it a big deal or mentioning it to someone. But just a quick note to you guys, don’t let a simplified life lead you to live a mediocre one.

So how do you join forces?

Respect each other’s wow and how-ness.

It’s that simple.

Learn to shrug things off and to go with the flow. Believe me, it will make your life way more fun, and increase the overall happiness of your relationship when you get to this position.

Good luck!

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