When we are having a disagreement with our significant other, we may not want to recognize or acknowledge that the very basis for our disagreement is what attracted us to that person in the beginning. I am not talking so much about "opposites attract" as a difference in personality. Perhaps we are forgetting the positive feelings we had for just the personality trait with which we are now upset. We may, over time, decide this personality trait is just not so exciting. The cute way added humor to your conversation, became humor used to avoid emotional intimacy. The way they did not control you became lack of controlling anything.
I would like to propose we take another look at the personality of our partner and of ourselves to explore those differences in a new light. I am proposing we can appreciate our differences and maximize our similarities. Instead of fighting over how we are different, use the differences in how we choose to be in the world to enhance our relationship. First you have to know yourself to understand any differences with another person. Knowing their thinking process and preferences will assist in understanding their responses. Perhaps you go shopping for a computer and you find a wonderful set up. Your spouse is just not interested. Oh they agree “let’s buy it.” But the enthusiasm is just not there. You get irritated at their lack of involvement when you are clearly impressed with this computer. Their personality type may just not allow for the same response as yours. Understanding them and yourself is essential to keeping out of fights.
Most of the time, I find the couples sitting on my couch awaiting counseling have one basic difference: one partner is the roots, and one partner is the wings. In other words, one partner prefers a predictable life revolving around schedules. The other partner likes to be spontaneous and open to new possibilities. Perhaps one is concerned about budget, and the other is not. One may want to create a home atmosphere that is decorative, and the other sees it as unnecessary. Sometimes people fight over something when they are really both on the same page about the issue.
They go through life saying…I am really getting tired of being the roots, wish I had..OH LOOK some wings. Or, I really am tired up here all the time, would be nice to have roots. Then they find each other and the wings does not understand the roots or the other way round. They forget the initial need. Understanding the differences and allowing the other for their needs creates an atmosphere of trust and harmony.
In the beginning, these traits seem to be admirable, even enticing. As the relationship progresses, these very choices in life annoy us to no end. Don't despair! Some understanding and appreciation can actually provide a basis for loving the differences, or at least... appreciating them? Your differences may complement each other. Couples often fight over the differences to the death, meaning one must be wrong and the other one right. They do not consider they can both be right. They can agree to disagree and appreciate the differences instead of needing anyone different from themselves to be "wrong." If you understand how you are "different," then some of the right/wrong issues are resolved. You can be “dead” (relationship) right.
It is like you both spend a day at Disneyland. Same rides, same weather, same lines, same lunch. At the end of the day one hated the day and one loved it. You are both right. You both have a separate, unique, and personal reality.
Remember the roots and wings. The "roots" are solid into life and looking around saying to themselves, "Sure could use some flying around! It's getting really boring stuck here." And the "wings" are flying around, perhaps, feeling insecure, so they look down and think, "Sure could use some roots for security." When they spy each other, it is like an answer to their prayers. "Whew, some wings to relieve my boredom," or, "Wow, some roots, here I come." Or the roots may even envy the wings or vise versa.
Then, the roots complain that the wings only want to be spur of the moment, no planning, and no structure. And the wings complain that the roots are just boring and too controlling. Sound familiar?
I am proposing that, as a couple, you discover your differences and similarities. Roots can then learn to appreciate the ability to fly, and wings can appreciate the security roots allow.
A personality test may help you discover your similarities and differences. A personality test reveals how you choose to exist in the world. Your personality profile will change over time because you
will change over time.
I recommend the Keirsey Sorter II found on the internet. The same personality profile test is on Facebook, and it is called MyType. Keirsey sorter can be easily found on the links page of my website. http://www.program4angermanagement.com/links
MYTYPE on Facebook sometimes does not function, however, it is free. Both give you four letters. INFP or ENTJ, that sort of letters. The test will give you an explanation of the letters. Be sure you save the percentages. For instance, a 9/10 introvert will have much different needs and choices than a 2/10 introvert.
With the Keirsey Sorter II, you will receive a printout telling you your degree of four different personality patterns. There are two books to help you understand the letters: Please Understand Me-Character and Temperament Types
by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates' Gifts Differing-Understanding Personality Types
by Isabel Briggs Myers.
Have fun finding out about yourself and your partner. Don't take yourselves so seriously. Utilize those differences. If you were a business, it would be beneficial to have someone good at customer service, and the other an expert accountant. In a romantic relationship, those differences can also complement each other. Let them!
"Of the countless ways we can show love to one another there are five love languages, proved to be universal and comprehensive. Everyone has a love language. We identify primarily with one of the five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, or Physical Touch."
Discover your love language here.
YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE
©Copyright 2010 by Yvonne Sinclair M.A., LMFT. All Rights Reserved. All material is owned and protected. Reproduction without the express written consent of the author is forbidden.