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Relationship Stresses? It Could Be Personality Differences

My wife, Sandy, and I have been married for 34 years.  It all started when I was “star struck” by her performance in the leading role of our high school musical, Brigadoon.

We started dating in May of 1981, which was the month we graduated from high school.  We had a good summer together and then went our separate ways to different colleges. I went to Vanderbilt University and Sandy went to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  Despite, or perhaps because of, the lack of texting, cellphones, Facetime, and social media, we made it through those years and were married in May 1985.

As I’m sure you can relate, the relationship journey has had some interesting twists and turns. We have a great marriage now, but, as with all long-term relationships, a foundation of understanding was necessary to make the journey successful.

What I wish we had discovered much earlier was the impact our personalities have on the way we communicate, interact, and feel in certain situations.

In the free MyPersonality® assessment I designed, (https://disciplinestrategy.com/my-personality/), there are six main traits: honesty-humility, emotionality, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness. Differences in these traits between relationship partners creates interesting dynamics.

I am a highly agreeable person. I quickly forgive and I like to please people. It is almost impossible for me to hold a grudge. Also, I’m not a fan of conflict.

Sandy has a normal level of agreeableness. As a result, she is comfortable with confrontation, when necessary, or difficult discussions.  She doesn’t feel like she has to please everyone 100% of the time.  On the honesty-humility scale, she scores sky high.  This means she speaks the truth and she doesn’t “butter people up.” A compliment from her is 100% sincere. Undeserved praise or flattery directed towards her makes her feel uncomfortable.

Do you see the potential challenge here?  Would it have helped us 34 years ago to understand these differences? You bet. Did we figure it out over time? Yes, like walking 100 miles to get to the other side of the street.

My personality drives me to seek peace and harmony and an environment in which everyone is “happy.” Sandy is much more willing to dig into the meat of a matter and have a tough discussion. She values honesty more than conflict avoidance. This difference in personalities could cause stress or it could be leveraged to create a better relationship. Understanding these differences opens the opportunity to connect at a new level.

I encourage you and your relationship partner to both complete the MyPersonality assessment and compare your results across the main six personality traits. Feel free to email me with any questions. Or, if you want to setup a consultation, just book a time slot through my calendar link here:  https://calendly.com/drtlcphd/mypersonality