Personality differences in long-term committed relationships can be a great asset, and can also lead to a lot of frustration, depending on how we think of personality differences and what we do about our differences.
When people in relationships are struggling, it’s common and normal for them to think, “if my partner was more like me, then we would be happier”. They make sense of the relationship struggles by looking at the personality differences.
But the reality is, there is no single person out there similar enough to our personality that will eliminate the challenges we experience in relationships. And that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be! Instead of dreaming, hoping, and yearning for someone to be more like us, there are 3 things we can do to make the difference in personality work for us!
- We work on developing a gratitude mindset in relationships and work on being appreciative of the differences instead of focusing on the differences and wishing our partners were different. We stop trying to change them.
- We work together to compromise and “bridge the gap” between personality differences so that our differences in personality don’t become polarized to the point where we end up digging our heals into the sand with a stance that says, “Well this is just who I am, you need to get over it”. We have to see that meeting each other in the middle with goodwill is going to help us stay connected in a positive way.
- And lastly, we have an opportunity to grow and mature as adults. Every personality trait has both a positive and negative aspect. Maturing in adult relationships requires us to grow the negative aspects of our personality traits so we become whole, healthy, and the people we were designed to be. When we experience conflict over personality traits in the relationship, it presents us with a wonderful opportunity to grow and mature.
Have a listen to this 17-minute video on personality differences in relationships and how to make this work for us, instead of working against us, and as you watch this, remember, this can be applicable to every relationship that is important to you: Family, marriage, co-workers, business partnerships, etc.
Cheers to opposites attracting!