Journeys

How Marriage Counseling Works With Different Personality Types

by Wendy Coffey, MSW, LCSW, 1583418718726


How does marriage counseling work for different personality types? A marriage counselor is like a consultant or a coach for a couple. Just like different personalities will react differently to the suggestions or observations of a coach, each personality in a relationship will react differently to a marriage counselor. The key is to know yourself, which includes: knowing your boundaries, your expectations, and your history. In order to know yourself, you need time in your own head, alone. When you know yourself you are ready to communicate your needs as one half of a partnership. Marriage counseling is one way to reach your goals for a healthy, respectful relationship. Body Positive Works has several classes and events that can give you the time and space needed for introspection and can also help with relationship therapy. **What is a personality type?** The definition of a personality type according to Websters, is: “a collection of traits which are thought to occur together consistently” When people refer to personality types today they are mainly referring to the Meyers-Briggs personality test. This test was designed to aid the workplace in finding the right fit for their workers. It has since been used to help people get to know themselves. There are alternative ways to find out about yourself in a more personal manner through introspection to help your relationship. Introspection is often difficult to come by in our busy world but using a variety of methods to aid in understanding your innermost self is available. Body Positive Works provides classes in meditation, yoga, and sound healing all of which can help you ́ 'just be”. Spending time alone in nature with your thoughts can have the same effect. **Marriage is two “personality types” developing a partnership.** A marriage is a partnership between two individuals with two separate personality types. Whenever people enter into any kind of partnership negotiation is required. At the heart of negotiation is communication. Marriage counseling is similar to hiring a consultant or coach to ask questions and develop a plan that will enable the partnership to thrive. It is counterproductive for a counselor to take sides unless an abuse of any form is suspected, if that is the case, marriage counseling might not be the goal. **What are the expectations for this partnership?** Individuals come into a marriage with a set of expectations that have been formed through personal history. This history has included a family of origin, friends, and society as a whole. Being honest with yourself and questioning your own expectations is helpful in forming a partnership. A marriage counselor can ask the questions in couples therapy that might shed light on expectations and where they originated. Once you know why you have these expectations you are better able to decide whether or not they are worth fighting for. **Reality vs. Fantasy** What is realistic to expect from this marriage? We often enter marriage believing our partner should “just know” what we need and what we want. These needs or wants can be anything from taking out the garbage to making a certain amount of money to making love every night. The reality is, no one can read minds, to think so is fantasy. Again, communication and negotiation are key. It can be helpful to have a marriage counselor pull out the mind-reading expectations and focus on what is real. **Love should just take care of it.** The beginning of relationships is always exciting. New relationships are fun and carefree. With time comes stress; extended family, children, bills, health, work, etc… These stressors can test a marriage in ways that are not expected. A marriage counselor can guide partners in ways to support one another through difficult times rather than turning on one another in frustration, disappointment, and anger. Love is a wonderful base to come back to for the security of the partnership. Often, a marriage counselor will ask questions that will elicit memories from a carefree beginning. These memories can strengthen the connection that will pull the couple through.