Do opposite personalities attract? Do couples with similar personalities have fewer conflicts? We can’t answer these questions here because research results vary. But we are confident that marriages are improved through understanding, appreciation and respect.
Many of us expect our spouse or our significant other to share our preferences for sociability, our fears, our way of behaving in the world. We judge each other based on our own preferences. We can be amazed, hurt and even angered when we discover that his or her desires and behaviors differ from our own. DiSC profiles can help couples better understand each other’s differences. It can help us see that our partner’s priorities aren’t necessarily misplaced just because we don’t share them.
Differences are normal and can enhance a relationship. Couples can discover more about themselves and about their partners after completing DiSC assessment. They are given non-judgmental language they can adopt to describe themselves and their partner. Instead of wondering if he is so particular or she is so reckless just to spite the other, each person’s normal personality traits are shown in a positive light.
DiSC doesn’t hide away the challenges of different personalities, however. For example, one person’s preferred style of challenging statements made by the other could be misinterpreted as attacking and dismissive. It triggers a partner’s fears of disapproval. Together the couple consider that these challenges may come from a need to analyze, not to criticize. And the challenger can work with his or her partner to find ways to express more enthusiasm for the partner’s ideas before asking questions about them.
I used to be a minister and used DiSC as part of pre-marriage prep to help young couples understand each other better. Also used it with couples who were having issues for the same purpose. — Paul
Each person’s personal development is facilitated through identification of how he or she responds to conflict, what is motivational, what causes stress, and how problems are solved. Marriages are enriched as couples further appreciate the complementary qualities of the other spouse. Understanding personality styles opens the door for greater levels of communication, encouragement, honor, acceptance and intimacy.
The profile reports help couples rediscover the differences they once found attractive. A highly motivated person might have found someone who is more laid back. Sometimes that drives them crazy and they label their spouse as lazy. But sometimes they are reminded of the value of rest and recreation and can be guided to that type of activity. The laid back partner might see their partner’s goal focus as encroaching on their relationship. Together with a counselor or coach the couple can review their profiles and talk about this difference and how they can each value and accommodate the other.
If a couple is considering marriage or a long-term commitment, their reports can highlight areas of difference and of possible conflict. They can strategize how to deal with issues before they come up.
A very helpful tool for both the couple and the counselor is the Comparison Report. It is available once two people have taken the profile. (see Everything DiSC Comparison Reports) It provides graphs like the one above. These are good places to begin a conversation. How are you currently experiencing this difference? How is it valuable in your relationship? What could reduce any conflict that arises from this difference?
Tips are also offered in this report. Couples can discuss if they think these tips might work for them or if they have even better ideas.
We should interject here that DiSC profiles cannot predict the likely success or failure of a marriage, determine the roles each partner should have within the marriage nor point out how to change or alter anyone’s behavior. But it can help you better understand your partner, appreciate your partner’s differences and contributions, recognize possible reasons for conflict, enable better communication, and affirm the normality of a range of behaviors.
I recommend using the Everything DiSC Workplace profile with the Comparison Report. Even though the assessment was created for business use, it’s very applicable to marriage. View a sample Workplace profile and a Comparison Report to judge for yourself. (These are also available in Spanish and French.)
Another very useful profile is Everything DiSC Productive Conflict which helps learners to understand how to manage their responses to conflict situations. It also explores the destructive and productive conflict behaviors typical of each DiSC style.
by Kristeen Bullwinkle and the DiSCProfile.com team