Introvert or Extrovert? How Temperament Affects Marriage
- Tuesday, March 04, 2008
As Jesus grew up, he was a model of wisdom, physical bearing, and love—both with God and his fellow man. Even as a young person, Jesus exhibited physical, emotional, and spiritual healthiness. We can assume he took good care of his body, respecting it as the temple of the Holy Spirit. He exhibited wisdom by making good choices. He was aware of his special relationship with God, his heavenly Father, and he knew how to respond to people in a way that showed them God’s love. As a result, he pleased God and was respected by others as someone with integrity.
If Jesus had married, he would have been the perfect husband. Yet an expressed opinion is that most likely any woman who married him still wouldn’t have been satisfied. That’s just like relationships, isn’t it? We’re never satisfied with what we have—even if it’s perfect. Yet Jesus’ personality can be an important measure for an engaged couple. They can assess their beloved’s strengths and weaknesses and evaluate how closely their potential mate resembles Jesus in action and attitude. Although none of us will be perfect here on earth, we can grow in wisdom and favor with God and men. As we do we will please our spouse or make the perfect “catch” for a future spouse.
How Others See It
M. Blaine Smith: There is considerable benefit to understanding each other’s personalities, to be sure. But the value comes in helping you understand where your potential for conflict will lie rather than in giving you a magical answer about whether or not to marry.
Jesus was the perfect human being—yet fully God. We cannot expect our future mate to be perfect like him, but we can evaluate Jesus’ strengths to gain an understanding of the four basic temperaments, which some call personality styles. They are the viewpoints about life that motivate how we respond to circumstances and people. Each personality or temperament has both strengths and weaknesses.
Here is a summary of the four basic temperaments:
- Sanguine: outgoing, desires fun, is emotional, outspoken, and relationship-oriented
- Melancholy: introverted, desires perfection, is organized, pessimistic, and task-oriented
- Phlegmatic: introverted, desires peace, is unemotional, pessimistic, and relationship-oriented
- Choleric: outgoing, desires power or control, is outspoken, strong-willed, and optimistic
Instead of displaying the attitude, “Now that you know why I act that way, you’ll just have to accept me the way I am,” we can choose to think of others. We can respond through the power of the Holy Spirit in a way that would help meet their needs and overcome the weaknesses of our temperament. That’s called versatility.
The Perfect Personality
Jesus didn’t exhibit weaknesses of any of the temperaments, but he demonstrated all the strengths of all four temperaments. He truly was the perfect person.
With children, he was the sanguine: lively and fun. His ability to teach effectively, especially with parables, shows his strength in organization and attention to detail—like the melancholy temperament. Jesus was most like a phlegmatic when he was able to sleep in a boat when the disciples thought the boat would be tossed over in a storm. And finally, he operated as a choleric when he confidently and forcefully threw the money-changers out of the temple. He took quick action and wasn’t afraid of anyone.
Knowing your future spouse’s temperament will help you understand them. Many people believe that the person they love looks at life the same way they do, but that’s usually not the case. Not understanding their way of thinking will lead to assumptions and misunderstandings when they react out of their perspective of life, not your perspective.
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