In my 25 years of working with singles and couples, I have seen the inner workings of many, many marriages. I haven’t met anyone who didn’t admit to moments of annoyance with their spouse; no one is perfect and no marriage is perfect. And yet, some couples are generally happy...and others are less happy or unhappy. As I analyzed why this might be, the thing that popped up, again and again, were personality differences. Every couple had them. And every couple contended with them. Yet, for some couples, the struggle led to an enlightening, happy marriage…while others were stuck in a perpetual state of frustration, suffering in darkness. I was extremely curious, what was the secret to accessing this marital ‘light switch’?
My search for an answer led to years of study and eventually to a research project; I surveyed hundreds of married people and personally interviewed tens of married and divorced people in eight different countries. The results were both fascinating and inspiring. Across the globe, despite differences in religion, language and culture, couples in good marriages used similar tools for making their personality differences work in their marriage. And – the successful couples actually came to see their personality differences as good, necessary and beneficial. This finding matched the experience I had with couples in my clinic: With the right perspective, personality differences really are a gift for a marriage.
The premise of this book is: Even though we often marry someone who is similar to us in many ways (similar values, lifestyle, etc.), we’re also naturally attracted to someone who possesses significant differences. These differences hold a tremendous power of connection – if we can use them correctly. Without the proper emotional tools and the right mindset, however, these very differences can create a disconnect or even wreak havoc in a marriage.
The three most common personality differences I found in my research were:
Introvert – Extrovert
Spender – Saver
Organized – Disorganized
Therefore, I will reference these three typical types of personality differences often throughout this book. For a list of the other common personality differences that surfaced in my research and/or an explanation of our research methods, turn to the Appendix on page XX
This book is for people who are married and are discovering or grappling with these differences.
This book is for people who see their personality differences and want to cash in on them.
The goal of this book is to help prevent marital strain and pain and instead – provide a practical, hands-on method for using personality differences to continuously take your marriage to the next level. This is what a dynamic marriage is all about; if we don’t actively engage in our marriage, the relationship will get stale. The tools in this book will enable you to build your dynamic marriage