Guest Post: Using Personality Type for a Better Relationship

Today, I’m excited to announce a guest post from Geoff Schmitt on how to use personality types for a better relationship!  I’m intrigued by psychology and the intricacies of relationships so I really enjoyed reading his post.

Is your wife or girlfriend driving you mad with certain behaviors? Are certain traits in your man making you grit your teeth? You may be running into conflicts due to personality type differences. It’s not uncommon after time has passed to find those cute quirks you thought were so neat are now anything but cute to you. So what can you do?

Well first of all you need to accept that you will not change them. Most likely you will not change yourself either. What you can do is learn to appreciate the differences. Accepting your differences and learning to work through them will strengthen your relationship. Who knows, you might even think that little quirk you now despise is cute again.

Personality type was first thought up by Carl Jung. He wanted to understand how people differ and why they misunderstand each other. Jung came up with 16 personality types. If you want to find out what type you are, I suggest googling a free Myers-Briggs test. When you find yourself in conflict in any relationship you might want to think about personality type differences. Everyone has all of these traits to some degree but we all have preferences which make up the ways we make our choices and our personality. The recipe for a happy marriage or relationship usually involves understanding each other and understanding personality type can help you do that.

Extroversion vs. introversion is an example of one such preference. The typical extrovert loves to talk, has lots of friends although they may not be deeply close to any of them, loves to be around people and feel energized by crowds The introvert, on the other hand, likes solitude, usually has only a few friends but is deeply close to them, and feels depleted by crowds.

Extroverts are known for “thinking out loud” often to their detriment!  As one extrovert I know well says “ I don’t know it’s stupid until I’ve already said it.” They may talk out loud as they work their way to a final opinion on a topic, which is usually not the first thing he/she said. Introverts conduct most of his/her thinking silently. They work things through internally, but when they finally speak on a subject, it is probably their final word on it. If you don’t understand how your significant other reacts the way they think, it can cause conflict.

Sensing vs. intuition is the next characteristic that comes into play. Intuitive people tend to live in the future, in the world of ideas and not necessarily the present.  This is a great trait for coming up with new and innovative ideas but not so great for making sure the trash gets taken out, which the intuitive person may not even see until they are tripping over it!! Sensing types are practical, have great common sense, and usually do well with physical tasks.  They will definitely see the trash and make sure it gets taken out, but may miss the forest for the trees.

Thinking vs. feeling is an additional facet. Thinking types use logic and rules to make decisions. Their decisions are usually made regardless of anyone’s feelings including their own! They base life’s choices mostly on just facts.  Feeling types make their decisions on what feels right and what they believe will bring harmony for all involved. For a feeling person, it’s not necessarily right just because it’s logical.

Finally there is a perceiving vs. judging characteristic trait. Perceivers love to gather data, but loathe making an actual decision. When you are in the gathering information stage of a project you want a perceiver on your team but when it’s time to actually decide something they may have difficulty. Judging types are easily decisive but sometimes miss possibilities that they just don’t perceive. Judging types tend to make decisions without all of the required data.

Conflicts arise from misunderstandings and blind spots when you and your spouse differ in one or more of these areas. It’s not only the differences that can cause conflict though. Sometimes the characteristics that are too much alike are where you get into trouble. If you are both perceivers and tend to procrastinate, important decisions may be missed. If you are both thinkers you may end up with poor relationships with neighbors or family. Two intuitives together may never get the trash taken out!!

Remember, we all have these traits and none of them are wrong. However, if you don’t understand these things about yourself and your spouse they can affect your relationship in every area from shopping to sex!!  One of my friends can’t go to the grocery store with his wife. It’s just too big a source of conflict. He wants to go up and down every aisle looking and gathering data.  She has a list, knows what she wants and just wants to get it done. They solved the problem by understanding this was just basic personality differences that weren’t going to change so they don’t shop together.

If you find yourself wanting to pull your hair out over some trait or habit exhibited by your spouse, just think “Ah ha! I bet its some difference in our personality type.” With a little adjustment and understanding on both parties’ parts, you can regain harmony in your marriage.

Geoff Schmitt writes articles on relationships. Check out his site:  http://recipeforahappymarriage.com/ for more on personality type and relationships.

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