“We need help communicating” is a frequent lament from marriage counseling clients. Deeper issues are typically present, but we make temperament (often known as “personality” or “psychological) analysis a focal point because of the good fruit it bears!
When we review client profiles, they are amazed at how understanding each other better, coupled with a willing spirit, can improve their communications and many other areas of their relationship.
What is a person’s temperament?
Temperament is the inner part of man that God created when we were in our mother’s womb. They do not change (personalities are masks that we can put on) and we utilize the Arno Profile System, a clinical Christian diagnostic tool, to perform the assessment. This system generates a profile based on responses to 54 questions and determine an individual’s needs in three distinct areas: inclusion (social), control and affection.
Each temperament type has strengths and weaknesses and the life-transforming power of the Holy Spirit can modify our actions and responses in positive ways as we understand them and proactively implement biblical truths.
There are five different temperament types: melancholy, supine, sanguine, choleric and phlegmatic and people can have different temperaments in each area. For more information on the APS and each temperament, visit our website (Arno Profile System).
Knowing a spouse’s temperament, as well as our own, provides detailed understanding of his or her specific needs, strengths, weaknesses and tendencies. From the profile, we learn how they communicate, how they express anger, and what modes of communication are most effective.
Please note: Temperament analysis does not provide an excuse for bad behavior. It will identify strengths and weaknesses in each area, and we must rely on the word and power of God to change us and transform us in those areas. Our temperaments do not change, but God can renew our minds and help us change attitudes and behaviors.
The title of this article includes the word “why” and purports to show how this type of analysis can help improve a couple’s communication. The reality of this claim is predicated on the expectation that ideally both partners are motivated to want to learn their spouse’s needs.
Husbands and wives are to submit one to another and serve one another. My experience as a Christian marriage counselor leads me to conclude that selfishness lies at the root of most problems.
If both are willing to serve one another, expectations for a positive outcome are high. Even one willing partner can move the marriage forward so if that is you, take heart and continue reading.
What Temperament Analysis Reveals About Communications
- When is the best time to initiate conversations? Some temperament types need a “cool down” alone time when they come through the door at the end of the day. Others want to get things fixed and addressed now! Having that understanding can help you plan a strategy
- How significant are financial issues? Some temperaments are prone to a fear of economic failure while others are not as concerned. If you need to discuss finances with the fear-prone temperament (melancholy), there are some recommended approaches to doing that. Sanguine temperaments tend to have very little concern about finances and live for the moment. How do you present economic issues in a way that will get the sanguine’s attention?
- How can you recognize anger in your spouse? Those who yell and scream are pretty easy to diagnose. However, some temperaments do not express anger overtly in ordinary situations and arguments. Unresolved internalized anger will ultimately result in an explosion. One temperament masks anger as “hurt feelings” and loved ones often dismiss this lament. Would it be helpful to recognize that as anger in your spouse so you can address the situation?
- What are the best words to use and NOT use during arguments? Some temperaments respond best to facts and logic while others delve in feelings and emotions. If you want to connect with your spouse, would it be helpful to know his or her mode?
- Some talk a lot and others talk very little. These differences are also a reflection of different temperaments. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know how to draw your partner out, or, conversely, how to intervene so you can get a word in edgewise?
Temperament analysis provides much more information, but I wanted to give a few insights regarding how temperament can affect communications in marriage.
As previously mentioned, if each member of the couple purposes to serve the other, then it is very likely that the marriage can be healed and restored. A significant stumbling block for progress occurs when one partner truly does not understand their spouse’s needs even though they do want to fix things. Temperament analysis can help provide this valuable knowledge.
If you are married or engaged and have never had temperament analysis done, I strongly encourage you to do this. It is an important part of my pre-marriage counseling services. If you cannot find someone locally, consider contacting our Center. We can help you worldwide over the internet