Embracing Personality Differences

Embracing Personality Differences

Personality Differences in Marriage

The expression, “opposites attract” is cliché, but so true when it comes to relationships. Differences in personality draw people to one another in intimate relationships. This is a good thing because of the differences, if embraced and appreciated, compliment the relationship. For example, when a risk taker gets together with a deep thinker, they can bring balance to one another. The risk taker can encourage the deep thinker to take action, rather than over analyzing. Respectively, the deep thinker can help the risk taker more carefully assess situations before making decisions.

The 4 Temperaments of Personality

There are 4 primary temperaments that strongly influence personality: choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholy. The following descriptions are not all inclusive but do highlight the fundamental traits of each temperament. The choleric temperament is very goal driven, task-oriented and self-confident. Sanguine is characterized by socially outgoing, positive, optimistic and emotionally expressive. The Phlegmatic temperament is calm, stoic, thoughtful and easy-going. Melancholy is characterized by deep feeling, sensitive, perfectionism and often artistic. The longer couples are together, the more their differences become apparent. Differences in personality allow for couples to help each other. However, the very thing we need from our partner, is often what annoys us. Conflict and resentment develop when marriage partners criticize each other’s differences or try to impose their way of doing things on the other.

Why Participate in Marriage Therapy

Marriage therapy helps couples appreciate one another’s differences and see them as assets to relationship growth and connection. The first step is self-awareness. Each person takes inventory of their own personality traits and the impact they have on their partner. The second step is to better understand the other’s personality and recognize the positives that it offers the relationship. This sets the stage for couples to see each other as partners and allies, rather than competitors and enemies.