One of the easiest ways you can dramatically improve your relationship with your spouse is to understand and VALUE the different Personalities in Marriage. Let’s dive in & see how using The Personalities can help YOUR marriage thrive!
You’ve made it to the very last post in the Improving Relationships with The Personalities series! Congratulations! So far in this series, we have…
- Reviewed a basic overview of The Personalities,
- Discovered WHY The Personalities is the EASIEST tool for improving relationships,
- Revealed the 4 most critical emotional needs for each Personality type, and
- Learned how to use the Personalities with our kids.
Today, we uncover the secret to improving our MARRIAGES with The Personalities!
The bottom line in most marriage improvement strategies is to UNDERSTAND each other. Using The Personalities in marriage is no different in this regard. It’s all about learning to UNDERSTAND our spouse and then COMMUNICATE using this new understanding as a foundation. Understanding and communication. Sounds pretty easy so far, right? 😜
So, here’s the game plan for improving our marriages with The Personalities!
1) Understand yourself.
Just like with our kids, we have to first understand our OWN types before we can use The Personalities in our marriages. If you haven’t already, flip back to The Personalities Overview and take some time to discover your unique Personality blend.
- What is your primary Personality? Which type seems most YOU?
- What about your secondary Personality? Which type seems to slide in and assist your primary type to keep you balanced?
- What are your greatest Personality strengths?
- Which of those strengths, when carried to extremes, tend to become weaknesses for you?
Discovering who you are and what strengths you bring into your marriage is a fantastic starting point. Uncovering our weaknesses can also give us a greater appreciation for what our spouse can fill in our gaps!
To help you with this process, I’ve created an awesome, FREE cheatsheet for you!
2) Understand your spouse.
Go through this same process of discovery for your spouse’s Personality types. Ask those same questions about HIM.
- What strengths does HE bring to the relationship?
- What are his own Personality-based challenge areas?
- Where do his great strengths get out of control and become weaknesses that drive you nuts?
Don’t focus too much on the negative here. Spend a good amount of time just dreaming of all the ways his Personality makes you weak in the knees before moving on to weaknesses. (Does anybody else get sucked into the negativity vortex SUPER easily when it comes to our spouses??) Go deep enough to discover that these things that drive you nuts are just the other side of the coin for those same strengths you LOVE about him!
Keep the goal in mind, folks – IMPROVING our marriages. Understanding each other. Not just dwelling on all the things that bug us. 😜
3) Understand your similarities.
Personality trainers like to say that the best marriages happen when two people “share a square.” For example, if a Choleric/Sanguine marries a Phlegmatic/Sanguine. In this case, the partners share the Sanguine square for their secondary Personalities. They will love to have fun but will approach having fun in very different ways. The Choleric/Sanguine will be super high-energy and focused on productivity as fun, whereas the Phlegmatic/Sanguine will be much more laid-back and focused on relaxation as fun.
It’s an interesting dynamic to share a square, and there are definite pros and cons to each pairing. Here are some brief descriptions of how “shared squares” play out in marriages:
Sharing the Sanguine Square
Pros: Both spouses love to have fun and enjoy being around people. This couple is the life of the party and the ones everyone wants to celebrate with.
Cons: Neither spouse wants to deal with the budget or other not-so-fun details. Someone has to step out of their natural gifting to make the home run efficiently. The couple needs a plan to make up for the lack of Melancholy tendencies in the pairing.
Sharing the Melancholy Square
Pros: The Melancholy couple has a very organized, systematized home. Their bills are never late, and even if the home is not spotless, there is definitely an underlying sense of order. They enjoy the arts and deep connection with each other and outside friends.
Cons: Carefree isn’t really in this couple’s vocabulary, and the need for a perfect home, family, relationship, etc., can be stressful. There isn’t a Sanguine piece to break up the seriousness with a little comic relief.
Sharing the Choleric Square
Pros: Two Cholerics make a POWER couple. These two will accomplish more before noon than anyone else you know. Both partners will be driven and neither will feel like s/he is having to drag the other into productivity.
Cons: This couple may not know how to relax or enjoy the more laid-back aspects of life. They may struggle with sitting around, soaking up rays on the beach for vacation. Shouldn’t we be DOING something??
Sharing the Phlegmatic Square
Pros: These two are lovers, not fighters. They have a very peaceful, relaxing space to call home and are comfortable inviting others into their calming presence. The Phlegmatic pair has the patience of Job squared, and very little will ruffle their world.
Cons: Conflict in marriage is inevitable, but a Phlegmatic couple has a tendency to stuff down their frustrations and try to sweep issues under the rug. Neither one wants to rock the boat. Accomplishing anything on time can also be an issue for a couple who would rather enjoy life than worry about anything that might be considered stressful.
4) Understand your differences.
There are two ways to look at Personality differences in marriage:
1) We can be frustrated with our differences and bemoan the fact that our spouse doesn’t think or act the way WE want them to. Or,
2) We can choose to see our differences as the amazing way God designed for us to balance each other out.
For a Melancholy/Choleric, I’m pretty high-strung. God knew I needed a Phlegmatic/Sanguine to help me chill out, laugh, and enjoy life. He also knew my darling Phlegmatic/Sanguine husband would need a strong, Melancholy/Choleric woman to light a fire under him, get him organized, and help him achieve his full potential.
How does your spouse fill in your gaps? Where do your strengths complement his weaknesses? Where would your world fall apart without the balancing effects of your spouse?
Take some time to truly appreciate your differences. Write down all the differences that make your marriage work. Then, set aside an hour or so to talk through your discoveries with your partner. Go on a walk, out on a date, or cuddle up on the couch, but spend dedicated time for expressing your appreciation for your differences and all the ways they make your relationship stronger.
5) Understand your energy levels.
This piece can be a doozy for many couples. Whether we are introverted or extroverted, how we spend our energy and then recharge is vital to our health and sanity. When our energy levels don’t align with our spouses, it can cause major conflict.
Complete Opposite Energy Pairs
Consider the Choleric/Sanguine married to the Melancholy/Phlegmatic. I have several of these combinations in my family and friend circles, and I can spot their potential conflict areas from a mile away.
Both of the Choleric/Sanguine’s Personalities are extroverted, so he is very high energy. He’s the Energizer Bunny of the Personality world. Being around people either in his home or out and about is what recharges him. His wife, however, is a Melancholy/Phlegmatic — both introverted Personalities, so she is very quiet and low energy, needing lots of space for peace and quiet. He needs people, she needs solitude.
Can you see how this dynamic could be problematic?
The good news is that being aware of this energy difference is half the battle! The other half is sitting down with your spouse to discuss your energy needs and making a plan to see that those needs are met. Maybe the Choleric/Sanguine gets to go out with friends one night a week, and the Melancholy/Phlegmatic gets to go to the coffee shop or library for some time alone to think, process, write, create, or whatever will help her feel rested and refreshed.
Be proactive, truly seek to understand your spouse, and work together to come up with a plan. These opposite energy marriages can THRIVE, as long as you know where there is potential for conflict and beat it to the punch!
Even Energy Pairs
Some couples get lucky in the energy arena. As I said before, I am Melancholy/Choleric — with one introverted side and one extroverted side to my Personality mix. My husband is Phlegmatic/Sanguine — also with a fairly even introverted-extroverted split. Both of us have times when we need to be around people, and at other times we both need space and quiet in order to recharge.
Even though we are COMPLETE opposites in every other aspect of The Personalities, we share that energy balance, so we rarely fight about whether we should or should not go out to socialize. If one of us wants to stay in, the other is generally fine with that plan. If one of us wants to go out, we can do that, too.
While “even energy” marriages may have it easier as far as potential for conflict, there can still be problem areas here. So, don’t get lazy in your communication. Talk through what you each need in order to recharge, and make a plan together to see those needs are met.
Are you dealing with conflict in your marriage? Be sure to check out this post about conflict & confrontation, and then …
6) Value the combined dynamic!
Just like with our kids and families, there is immense value to the complete picture we make as a married couple. While the well-known phrase, “you complete me,” drives me nuts (because we have to be complete individuals before we can be half of a couple!), there is an element of truth to the idea of completing each other in marriage.
We can fill in each other’s gaps, help the other when s/he falls short, and encourage each other toward even better versions of ourselves. When we are each living in our strengths, we make an unstoppable team!
As you spend time walking through each of these aspects of The Personalities in your marriage, be sure to end your time celebrating your unique, married presence in the world. No other couple in the world brings exactly the same strengths, gifts, and testimony as you two. How are you going to let that light shine before men?
How can the two of you work together in your family, church, neighborhood, community, or business to spread God’s light and love? Much like how God designs our individual Mosaic Lives, He also has a personalized mission field for your marriage within your sphere of influence. Let your marriage bring hope and encouragement to everyone you encounter!
Be real and authentic. Share your struggles, vent your frustrations, but always follow it up with a reminder that you are in this marriage for a purpose greater than yourself. The world needs strong marriages, strong families. Choose to be one of them!
If you like learning about The Personalities in this series, you’re going to LOVE the other resources out there:
- Personality Plus (the original book on The Personalities)
- Wired That Way (the updated and expanded book)
- The Wired That Way Workbook
- The Wired That Way Profile
And don’t forget to grab your FREE Personalities Simplified Cheatsheet! ❤
As a former University Resident Director, Career Counselor, Certified Personality Trainer, and high school Spanish teacher, Laura has quite the “scattered” background — with one underlying theme: education! She writes to teach and inspire women on topics related to faith, family, and lifework. She is also a resume writer, specializing in resumes for moms, career changers, and new graduates.