Good relationships require a strong understanding of each other’s needs and perceptions. Getting to know each other happens naturally over time, but there are always the little surprises. Perhaps we tend to colour our perceptions of our partners based on our own outlook. Is there a way to get an unbiased understanding of your partner’s personality and how it meshes with yours?
It’s certainly a question that has been exploited by everyone from astrologers to palm readers – but you may want something a little more scientific and concrete on which to base your conclusions. That’s where the Myers-Briggs personality test comes in handy. By answering a few simple questions about your preferences, you’ll be allocated one of 16 personality types and, provided you answered the questions honestly, you’ll gain new insights into who you really are. Here’s why it’s a great idea for couples to do this test and compare notes.
1. Understand Your Social Style and Make Compromises
Some people are extroverts and are energized by large gatherings and social events. They love meeting new people and open up easily. Others are introverts and find this kind of contact tiring. They tend to take the back seat at social events and parties. This potential point of similarity or difference can influence everything from the way you propose marriage to the degree to which you share your social life.
Let’s suppose that you’re an ENFP personality type and your partner is the exact opposite: an ISTJ. You’re probably attracted to each other precisely because you have such different outlooks, but though it does mean you get to benefit from each other’s contrasting strengths and weaknesses, there may be times when your opposite qualities make it hard to understand each other.
Imagine this scenario: you’re at a party, and your ISTJ partner is keeping to the sidelines and isn’t really engaging with others. Does he or she dislike your friends? Not necessarily, it’s just how ISTJs are. If your friends want to get to know your partner better, it will take a little time, and smaller gatherings before they’re given a look at the real person behind the quiet observer and thinker you’ve chosen as a life partner.
From your partner’s perspective, you’ve taken him or her to a gathering that, while it can be enjoyable in a sense, is tiring. There’s too much going on for comfort, and he or she will need a little rest and “me” time before undertaking the next stop on the social round. You’re raring to go, on the other hand, and that may cause conflict. Understanding each other is the first step towards developing a compromise you’ll both be happy with.
2. Understand How Your Partner Relates to You
A personality test provides a pointer towards what each of you find the most rewarding and satisfying in a close relationship: the things that matter, and the way in which you express yourselves. For example, your partner may not talk of love or pay you as many compliments as much as you might like. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she doesn’t love you. Each personality type has different ways of expressing love. Mending the sink or cooking a favorite dinner could be your partner’s way of expressing love, admiration, and appreciation.
Once again, compromise is the order of the day. If each of you knows what the other needs in order to feel loved, you can meet each other halfway just because you do love each other – or you could just accept that the non-dripping tap or the potato bake is something in the nature of a declaration of eternal adoration.
3. Know Why Your Partner is Getting Irritated
Even in the best relationships, there are times when partners become irritated with one another. Knowing what takes your other half out of the comfort zone can go a long way towards making allowances for that. For example, some personality types are organizers, while others like to keep things spontaneous. Mr or Ms Easygoing may be surprised at an organized other half’s discomfort in open-ended situations while Mr or Ms Organized may have difficulty dealing with a preference for making decisions in the moment. Understanding each other will allow you both to make conscious choices about what can be done on a whim and what should be planned with care.
4. Know What Makes Each of You Happiest
From choosing a birthday celebration to understanding each other’s hobbies and career ambitions, knowing your and your partner’s personality types can go a long way towards promoting harmony. Would your significant other like a surprise party or be appalled by it? Will your partner feel embarrassed or pleased if you’re constantly boasting of his or her achievements in public? These and other questions are easily answered when you know each other’s personality types. At the same time, you’ll know yourself better. There’s a little bit of everything in each of us, and understanding exactly why we’re happy in certain situations can be hard to explain. To a large extent, a Myers-Briggs personality test does this for us in a simple, clear, understandable, and scientifically proven way.