“When Otters Like Lions”
As a child, my mother would read this beautifully illustrated book to me entitled “The Treasure Tree” in which four animal friends embarked on a whimsical journey together. Each of the animals had a distinctly unique personality, and their different strengths aided the group throughout their adventures. I was completely captivated by the outgoing otter, headstrong lion, analytical beaver, and soft-spoken golden retriever, and my siblings and I would compare our personalities to those of the furry friends.
Later in life, I discovered that the animals’ personalities were actually based on four legitimate personality types: sanguine, choleric, melancholy, and phlegmatic. Most people are a combination of two of these types, such as a melancholy-phlegmatic. With dozens of potential combinations, we are afforded the plethora of personalities that give life variety and color.
While our close friends are more likely to have personalities similar to ours, several studies have shown that people tend to marry individuals with dissimilar personalities. This is often because such individuals balance our weaknesses, and they possess traits we aspire to obtain. For instance, I am a naturally shy person, so I was drawn to my husband’s amiable, outgoing personality because I admired and desired those characteristics.
Although these differences are initially refreshing, they may gradually become a source of irritation. This is not because we should have chosen individuals more like ourselves. Rather, it is because our natural desire is to be self-centered, and instead of learning to understand our loved ones’ personalities, we view them as wrong instead of different. However, this can be avoided if we identify and understand their personalities and learn to work with them.
Below is a brief summary of the four personality types. For more in-depth information, check out Tim LaHaye’s book “Why You Act the Way You Do”.
- Sanguine. Often considered the life of the party, sanguines are social and outgoing. In a spouse, they desire someone who will shower them with positive attention. They dislike schedules and being criticized, so the humdrums of life need to be counteracted with fun and spontaneity.
- Choleric: Cholerics are take-charge individuals who are usually confident and headstrong. They appreciate people who are supportive and submissive and who will let them lead. They get discouraged by resistance from others, and they sometimes come across as abrasive without intending to.
- Melancholy: Often creatively inclined, melancholies are analytical perfectionists who love details and plans. Because they hold themselves to rigidly high expectations, they need people who will help them relax and not take life so seriously, yet who are also reliable.
- Phlegmatic: Laidback and easygoing, phlegmatics like to let others be in charge. However, deep down they are strong willed and may become resentful if they feel bossed around. They love to please others and avoid conflict, so arguments should be handled carefully.
I hope this has provided a little insight into your significant other and perhaps even into yourself. Based on these descriptions, which type are you most like? Which is your spouse?
Thank you again, Rachael! To read other “Newly Wed” postings, just click here. Also, do not forget to enter our giveaway for an adorable, custom Waldorf doll for your flower girl! Click here to enter, and the giveaway ends TONIGHT!!