What Personality Differences Mean In Your Marriage

May 04, 2021

Everyone knows the question they get when things start to get serious, “Who is she?” or “Who is he?” We almost eagerly talk about all the things that make "our person" great.  Often, the things we list that make them attractive to us are the things that are opposite or different than us.  When we are dating, these differences are interating and attractive.  We seem them as things that make us better or make life in general better.  However, these are also most commonly the things that start to annoy us as we live alongside each other.  Essentially, the very things that once drew us to "our person" are the same things that cause our relationships to unravel.

When things are going well couples typically communicate how compatible they are. Conversely, when things are not going, couples communicate they are incompatible. The problem with compatibility vs incompatibility is that they function like an on/off are either on or off.  At The Meaningful Marriage, we intentionally shift our language and perspective to think of our spouse as COMPLIMENTARY.

Seeing our spouse as complimentary helps us focus on their strengths and be more accepting of their weaknesses.  Our relational value increases in both our strengths and weaknesses when we choose to see each other as complimentary.  


Let's explore some personality traits most commonly measured by personality assessments.  The most helpful way to discuss personality traits is to think of each section as a personality category.  Many of us have higher and lower levels of intensity in each category, and others of us are somewhere in between. 

Discuss each category and how you differ or where you might be similar.  Share examples where your personalities make life smooth, fun, and exciting, as well as, examples where your differences make life a little more complicated, confusing, or frustrating.  The goal here is learning to best navigate your differences and see how they make you a more complete team rather than seeing the differences as a problem to be fixed.  

Relational: Introvert or Extrovert

Relationally we gain or lose energy by how we interact with others.


Prefer a few close friends rather than many acquaintances and would often opt for a quiet night at home rather than a social get together.  They may be warm, caring, and friendly toward people, but social interaction drains them.  They feel slightly uncomfortable in larger groups so they need a heave balance of energizing solitude.   


Derive energy from interaction with people.  Most extroverts enjoy working and playing on teams.  They usually have many friends and spend much of their time with others.  Extreme extroverts love going to parties and usually end up being the life of that party. 

Priority: People or Task

Some of us prioritize people over task and others tasks over people.


Those of us whose priority is people value time with others, getting to know them, and enjoy talking about family, work, etc. These people tend to schedule lunch, coffee, or breakfast meetings to catch up with people and check in. This does not mean that task is unimportant, but people are priority. These people can walk away from a meeting feeling accomplished just from being around people.


Those of us who value task focus on what needs to get done and determine success based on what is accomplished. These folks will jump in on task or the reason for a meeting way before asking how anyone is doing. These people tend to schedule working meetings to accomplish not catch up. 

Change: Like it or Hate it

Some of us are averse to change and other of us intentionally create it when things stay the same for too long

Like It

Those of us who like change intentionally create it or seek it out. Some even break things so that they can be fixed again. People who like change are not great maintainers and work best in sales or as entrepreneurs. These people are comfortable moving, rearranging furniture, and buying and selling things.

Hate It

Those of us who hate change do just about everything to avoid it. These people like routines and habits. These people will stay in a bad situation because it is comfortable rather than having to adjust to change. These people make good managers, are typically very loyal, and can be seen as stubborn or persistent. 

Pace: Fast or Slow

Some of us are naturally faster paced and others of us prefer to be slower and more calculated.


Fast paced people are typically people who shoot, then aim. They prefer to move quickly on decisions and figure out the details later. Fast paced people do not sit for long and typically have something going on, if not multiple "somethings."


Slow paced people are typically people who aim, aim, aim, aim, then shoot. They prefer to know all parts to the plan before taking action. Slow paced people like to go with the flow and are more comfortable managing less projects at one time. 

Detail: High or Low

Some of us prefer and expect a high attention to detail and others of us don't even notice.


Those of us with a high preference for detail do not make spelling errors, love schedules and lists, and are typically on time. When interacting with someone like this be sure to speak directly, without fluff, and include as many details as possible. These people vacation with binders.


Those of us with a low preference for detail often throw caution to the wind when it comes to punctuation and grammar. When interacting with someone like this do not use details to communicate… they will stop listening. These people go with the flow and take life as it comes. 

Outlook: Optimist or Pessimist

We all have a default outlook on life…is the glass half full or half empty?


Optimists see the world as endless opportunity. They can take any situation and spin it for good. These people can also be labeled dreamers and are very forward thinking.


Pessimists experience the world as endless potential for problems. They typically approach situations with caution or with their guard up. These people like to think of themselves as realists and can be a voice of reason.

 The most important question we can ask over and over in our marriage is: "In what ways do the differences between us work to strengthen our relationship?"


 Hot tip...This works with our kids, too!


Dive in further with our

"Personality Differences" mini-course here.


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