We’ve been talking about the four temperaments interacting in marriage. But did I make this too black-and-white? Few people are just one of these four. In God’s amazing wisdom and quirks of DNA most of us are a combination of two temperaments, and some of us have a strong third working in us. And a few have contingencies of all four. And the male/female dimension adds to that. And we’re not even considering learned behavior changes that abuse and experience can add to the mix. How can we sort this all out so we can psyche out our partner? The truth is marriage is just too complicated to find a simple solution. We all need Jesus and God’s grace to walk through life with someone who is our opposite and we can never figure out. Marriage and love are mysteries that psychology can never solve.
Opposites attract and there is a tension in every marriage because of the opposite factor. I am a Phlegmatic/Melancholy and Anita is a Sanguine/Choleric. We think differently, have different love languages, and process decision-making differently. That’s probably a lot like your marriage. One of the first hard lessons I had to learn was to value her for who she was, not criticize her for not being what I thought she should be (characteristic of a perfectionist). I had to let her be her. I had to learn to let her think out loud and let her change her mind as she does so. She’s the perfect wife for me and I must value what God created.
I once knew a man who constantly berated his wife for not being more like himself. He left her and his children to marry another woman. He was attracted to his opposite: another woman just like his first wife. Will we ever learn? God’s plan for marriage is one man/one woman, for a lifetime, learning how to live with what you’re missing in someone that is your opposite. Go, explore that a little deeper with your life partner.