When two unique people merge their lives in marriage, their personalities can either clash or complement each other. If you understand your personality, your spouse's personality, and how they can mix, you can enjoy a marriage that's effective in helping each of you grow and bring glory to God.


Here are some ways you can understand and work with the personalities you and your spouse each bring to your marriage:

  • Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you insight into both of your personalities so you can more fully understand how God has uniquely wired each of you.


  • Don't expect your spouse to think and act exactly like you, and don't try to change his or her temperament. Appreciate the differences in your personalities and see those differences as strengths that can contribute to your relationship.


  • Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your strengths and weaknesses, and make clear to you how God would like you to grow. Commit yourself to growing in those ways through God's grace. Think about how you can hold your spouse accountable and encourage him or her.


  • Communicate regularly with each other about your needs and desires. Pray about them together. Be willing to let go of unrealistic expectations of each other. Rely on God to ultimately provide for you.
  • Whenever you disagree, work together respectfully to find a middle ground that works for both of you. When facing decisions, seek God's will, being willing to surrender your personal agendas for the greater good of His will for you both as a team.


  • Express love to your spouse in ways that he or she can best understand - which might be different from how you best understand love communicated. For example, your spouse might prefer time together rather than gifts, or compassionate listening rather than advice.


  • List your shared responsibilities (such as household chores, errands, etc.) and divide them up in a mutually agreeable way so it's clear who is expected to do what.


  • Set aside time to be alone as a couple, uninterrupted, on a regular basis. Don't discuss hot-button issues in your marriage during these times. Instead, strive to just enjoy each other's company.

Adapted from Personality Plus for Couples: Understanding Yourself and the One You Love, copyright 2000 by Florence Littauer. Published by Fleming H. Revell, a division of Baker Book House, Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., www.bakerbooks.com, 1-800-877-2665.

Florence Littauer has authored or co-authored numerous books on applying faith in practical ways to a variety of topics.

What aspects of your spouse's personality complement yours, and what aspects conflict with yours? How have you seen God at work in your marriage, helping you bring out the best in each other? Visit Live It's forum to respond, or read what others have to say. Just click on the link below.