Surprisingly, you don’t have to transform your partner’s personality to have a great marriage…
Committed relationships are fundamentally difficult because they require the collision of two separate individuals with different life experiences, values, and personalities to love each other. For this very reason, 69% of relationship problems are unsolvable.
How depressing is that?
Surprisingly, you don’t have to transform your partner’s personality to have a great relationship.
“You don’t have to solve your major conflicts for your marriage to thrive.” – Dr. Gottman, The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work
Most couples do not understand or appreciate the differences in both partners’ personalities. As a result, they fight over trying to change each other, rather than leveraging each partner’s unique personality to build a strong and healthy relationship.
“The goal of marriage is not to think alike, but to think together” – R. Dodd
5 Tips for managing your different personalities bette
1. Remember why you fell in love
My partner is way more social and playful than I am. At times she is playful when I have no desire to be playful, which can lead to negativistic thinking in my head and sometimes conflict. When I notice myself highlighting the negative aspects of my partner’s personality traits, I ask myself, “What do I love about this?” When it comes to her playfulness, she has added a lot of energy and spontaneity to my life and I have found myself becoming more playful over time.
Thinking these relationship enhancing thoughts helps me keep a balanced perspective and be honest with my partner. Instead of saying, “What is wrong with you?” I can say, “You’re being very playful which is something I cherish about you and right now I am feeling too tired to be playful. Can we just relax and goof off another time when I have more energy?”
2. Become experts on yourself and each other
If you understand how your personality operates including your strengths and weaknesses, you’ll be better prepared to navigate problems that are a result of differences in personality. If you understand and even cherish the positive aspects of your partner’s personality, you’ll be able to use their unique gifts to better your relationship.
3. Look in the mirror
Conflict escalates when we dig in our heels and refuse to admit any need for self-change. Explore what aspects of yourself are immature and are in need of improvement. It is your responsibility to become a high-quality romantic partner.
Use the conflicts as an opportunity to learn more about each other and your unique personality.
5. Be proactive
If one of you is introverted and the other is extroverted, make a strategy for social outings that work for both of you. For example, the introvert may agree to go, and the extrovert may agree to leave after a certain time whenever the introvert wants to go home. The extrovert may need more social time than the introvert and they can proactively use this knowledge to plan for this. While the extrovert grabs food with friends, the introvert can get some much-needed alone time at home.
Personality differences are inevitable. The key to intentionally building a relationship worth having is learning how to honour these differences, take responsibility for our own personalities when they make things difficult, and work together to manage these differences in a way that creates a meaningful marriage.
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