Help! I'm Married to an Opposite Personality Type!
The cause of most marital conflict is not because they are from "different planets" or genders, as John Gray proposed in his best seller. The more common, everyday conflict occurs when two opposite personality types try to make a joint decision. They simply see the situation from vastly different perspectiveswhich can lead to great consternation when there is a lack of deep appreciation and understanding of the others approach. "My spouse doesnt understand me!" is a phrase I hear often in marital therapy. If you want to improve the quality of your marriage, an essential ingredient is the degree of understandingand appreciationof the other's approach to issues due to their personality bias.
While few couples have had training in personality types, in my book Married to An Opposite I cite a recent study indicating that more than half of married couples bring differing personality approaches to the four most critical areas of marriage. They are decision making, belief systems, energy replenishment, and life-style preference. With a deepened understanding of differenceswhich often opens new dimensions of wisdom and proficiency in previously unseen or undervalued areasnew vigor and love can be created. Moreover, these differences can be pointers to the pathway of wonderful personal growth for each partner.
For therapy that focuses on appreciating differences in personality type, it is especially helpful to work with a therapist trained in the Myers-Briggs Personality Preferences field (good news: this therapy has a positive orientation so theres nothing to fear in being assessed!).
Click here to view Dr. Ron Shackelford's profile.