“I just fell out of love,” Emily said—she was determined to follow through with her divorce from Jake.
“How do you just fall out of love?” Jake responded with a look of defeat written all over his face. “I’ve tried and tried. I’ve given you everything, but all you ever focused on was your career.”
“Well I wouldn’t have to focus on my career if you were more motivated,” Emily said, with more than a hint of disdain in her voice.
I wish I could say that conversations like this are rare. Sadly, many relationships are built on circumstance, not commitment. Meaning, if a marriage works for both parties, they stay together. But if not, those marriage vows are worth little more than the paper they are written on.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Many of your partner’s frustrating traits are just part of how God wired this person. They are also related to the very things that you drew you to him or her.
We’re all born with a God-given temperament, and that temperament can’t change. And each temperament has a unique set of needs as well as a unique set of strengths and weaknesses.
The temperaments are extremely complex, since there are three aspects that temperaments explain, and you can be a different temperament in each one.
Now you see what the Psalmist David meant when he said in Psalm 139:13-14: “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!”
Then think about how your temperaments interact with your partner’s, and you can see how many opportunities there are for you to annoy each other.
When you married, you vowed to take this person, warts and all. Take the time to understand his or her temperament, and you will begin to see how God can use your strengths and weaknesses to compliment each other.
Each of us was created with a wonderful complexity that can take a lifetime to fully uncover and understand. Having an understanding of your temperament (and his) is a huge step in the right direction. Here then, is a quick tour through the temperaments:
Maybe he is a peaceful Phlegmatic, who has a really laid-back personality, but struggles with laziness and avoiding conflict.
Or perhaps he is the serving Supine, who gives freely of himself but struggles with getting upset when others don’t intuitively meets his need for attention.
Or he could be the perfect Melancholy, who is loyal and task-oriented but he requires so much alone time that you wonder if he even loves you.
Or maybe he’s the outgoing Sanguine, who’s always the life of the party but struggles with staying within the financial budget due to his impulsive spending.
Or he could be the powerful Choleric, who knows how to take charge and get things done but who makes you feel like your feelings don’t matter.
When you understand each of your temperaments, instead of being frustrated by your differences, you can use them to your advantage.
Instead of allowing your weaknesses to drive you apart, you can discover the strengths that draw you together. Instead of falling out of love, you can begin to embrace each others’ uniqueness.
To learn more about your unique temperament go to www.krisreece.com and download the free report titled, “What’s Tour Temperament?”
Don’t just give in to your fickle feelings of falling out of love, learn more about you and your partner. Your relationship will thank you for it.
By Kris Reece, Counselor, Coach, Author