The greatest overall benefit of knowing about psychological-type theory, is to be able to stand back and realize people do what they do because of their natural process. By knowing this, we can begin to eliminate our expectations on another person’s behavior.
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This alone solves a myriad of interaction problems.
Once you understand your type and your partner’s type, it’s time to see how you and your partner mesh. The first step toward creating a satisfying relationship is to understand ourselves. The next is to be more aware of the ways we naturally and automatically interact with our partners. Then, we can learn how to make some minor adjustments in our styles to be more accommodating and appreciative of each other.
DO OPPOSITES REALLY ATTRACT?
Many couples – about 35% have only two type preferences in common. About 25% have one preference in common, 20 % have three and only 10% are either different on all four or alike on all four dimensions. Just because you and your partner may be very different doesn’t mean you can’t have a satisfying relationship. You may simply have to work harder to achieve understanding and satisfaction.
The greatest opportunities for personal growth come from loving someone who is quite different. On some level, we’re drawn to our partners precisely because of those differences. We see things in them we don’t have in ourselves. We are stimulated to try things we might not ordinarily try, encouraged to open up and share on a deeper level than before, or slow down and have more fun than we normally allow ourselves.
As Carl Jung wrote, “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” Indeed, Mr. Jung believed that through the marital and family unit, we could transform ourselves to a greater spiritual level.
Bear in mind that no one combination is either perfect or automatically doomed to failure. There are strengths within each type combination. While every couple faces challenges based in a great part on their type preferences, every relationship also is as unique as the two people in it.
AN ESTJ & ENFP PARENTING CHALLENGE
The three type dimensions that are most often the source of parenting disagreements are:
GATHERING INFORMATION – Sensing or Intuition
MAKING DECISIONS – Thinking or Feeling
TAKING ACTION – Judging or Perceiving
Jake is an ESTJ and Maureen is an ENFP. As such they have different temperaments and values. Jake takes his job as father very seriously. He believes it’s his duty to raise responsible, polite, independent children. He’s the disciplinarian, establishing and enforcing the rules of the house with calm consistency. Jake’s kids will tell you that he’s strict and demanding but that he shows his devotion to his kids by being an enthusiastic coach and never misses a swim meet, dance recital, or school play.
Maureen is more concerned about her children’s emotional well-being and self-esteem. She wants them to develop as unique individuals and strive to find personal meaning in their lives. She’s clearly the fun parent, the nurturer, who is less worried about bedtimes and rules and more concerned about helping the children articulate their feelings and grow into compassionate and tolerant adults.
For the most part, Jake and Maureen complement each other well, but they also have their share of disagreements about everything from how hard to push the kids academically to whether to pay them for doing chores. This hurdle is not insurmountable, but it is a strain on their relationship; it gives them one more thing to disagree and argue about. Fortunately, knowing about their types – and their children’s types – has helped them figure out strategies to be more cohesive as a team and more sensitive and effective with their children.