There is great debate in the Body of Christ on the validity of temperament analysis and it’s use in Christian marriage counseling. Some see it as a valuable tool while others consider it a tool of the devil to mislead believers. In an earlier post, “Temperament Analysis: A Tool of the Devil?” we gave our assessment on that topic (hint: it is valid).
In this article we want to build upon that discussion and address some specific benefits in marriage counseling situation. Successful counseling scenarios, from a counselor perspective, involve a client who wants to be helped. In the case of sessions with couples, I am trying to assess which partner is really motivated to try to save or rebuild the marriage.
There is an axiom in real estate that says the three most important things when it comes to buying properties are location, location, and location. I believe the three biggest reasons Christian couples separate is selfishness, selfishness, selfishness. The key to successful marriage, just as in all aspects of the Christian walk, is to focus more on serving and worrying less about being served (Eph 5:21, Matt 20:26, I John 3:16).
I’m careful to use the term “Christian” in the paragraph above because I really do believe that believers should be approaching marriage and marriage counseling differently than the world does. The bible has a lot to say about the keys to a successful marriage but the terms submitting one to another, loving (especially for husbands) and respecting (especially for wives) are frequently found (Eph 5:22,Eph 5:25-27,Eph. 5:33 and more).
It begins with a willing heart and a desire to meet our spouse’s needs. In order to do that successfully, one must know what they are. Often, couples will try to “love” their spouse in the same way that they need it and that is often misread because that is not what the other person needs. That is why temperament analysis can help. Consider the following partial list of issues that surface frequently:
Is your partner a loner or more social? Do they need alone time to regenerate? Do they say their feelings are hurt when you have an argument and you tend to dismiss that? Are hurt feelings important or do they mask anger that will ultimately be released? Is your partner passive when it comes to decision-making yet gets angry if they feel they are being pushed? Do you see them as procrastinating when you are able to make quick decisions? Do you get uncomfortable if your loved one is too affectionate? Or, are you crying out for more physical affection than you are getting? Does it drive you crazy if you are alone too much yet your partner is quite happy to live that way?
A competent Christian counselor, understanding you and your partner’s temperaments, can help you navigate a successful path that builds upon meeting each other’s needs in godly ways. Unmet needs in a marriage can lead to ungodly behaviors that unchecked will lead down the path to destruction.
People are different. Maybe you married someone very much like you or they are as different from you as night and day. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know the differences clearly?