Why Personality Makes Every Marriage Unique

In marriage as in life, our personalities come through in our behaviors. By observing how someone behaves, we can get a fairly accurate idea of what their personality is like. Our behaviors are particularly revealing in marriage, when we spend a lot of time together, one-on-one.

What’s interesting, though, is that spouses don’t always accurately perceive one another’s personalities, despite the amount of time they spend with each other. Much of our personality plays itself out internally, in ways our spouse will never see. That’s why relationship assessments such as SYMBIS are so incredibly useful in counseling couples.

SYMBIS results are based on a pinwheel model we created based on decades of research on the DiSC model. The inner circles are based on pace and focus, and the contrasts and similarities between spouses often come down to one or both of these factors. Therefore, helping couples face and solve issues in their marriages could come down to how their personalities work with or against each other.

Personality Pacing Affects Equilibrium

All of us exist on a continuum, from slow- to fast-paced. How the pacing of our personality manifests itself, and how our spouse’s pacing comes through, affects the way we interact with one another. When working with couples, it’s important to identify each spouse’s pacing.

A fast-paced spouse might be more likely to display impatient, energetic, and urgent characteristics. They’re concerned about getting as much done as possible, and about filling their calendars to the brim. In contrast, a slow-paced spouse is more deliberate about their activities throughout the day. They don’t necessarily get in a rush, and they prefer to have plenty of time to mull things over.

Depending on where your couple falls on the continuum, you may need to help them untangle communication and pacing issues that come up in their relationship. Engaged couples would do well to get this insight through working with you. In addition, married couples will have the chance to discover conflict resolution they may never have thought of before.

Focus Affects Interaction

Like pacing, focus is a continuum. Some people are more task-oriented, while others are people-oriented. Where each spouse’s focus falls will ultimately influence interactions within the relationship.

Task-oriented individuals tend to focus on the job at hand, immersing themselves in projects and to-do lists. They’re productive and driven by their accomplishments. In contrast, people-oriented individuals seek deep emotional connection over productivity, Their focus is more on other individuals rather than tasks.

Personality Combinations Create Unique Marriages

How much two people’s pace and focus clash or harmonize can greatly impact the quality of their communication and their relationship as a whole. That’s why it’s so important to understand the inner workings of their personality. When two personalities come together, a completely unique relationship is born.

We champion relationship assessments because of the deep insights they provide–not only for the couple, but for the counselor working with them. Understanding the inner workings of our own personality, as well as our spouse’s, can be a game changer in overcoming obstacles to harmony in the relationship.

If you’re interested in how you can more effectively leverage relationship assessments for the couples you counsel, our new book, Helping Couples, is a great resource. We wrote it in partnership with Dr. David H. Olson, creator of PREPARE/ENRICH, and it’s a strategic guidebook to help coaches, counselors, and clergy members leverage assessments in order to connect with their couples on a deeper level. Order your copy here.

Do you use assessment tools for pre-marriage and marriage counseling? Considering the possibility? Leave us a comment below and let us know.

One Comment

  • Michelle Ver Straten says:

    This is amazing! I wish I knew about this before I got divorced. I’m in a relationship and glad I found it now. I am also sharing this with my daughter who is 23 and in a relationship but they are struggling so I’m hoping she will learn a lot from this.

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