Step #4 to Better Intimacy: Respecting Differences

Do you remember the first time you “fell in love”?  Was it love at first sight? Did it feel like everything just “clicked” as if the two of you had a lot in common?

In the early days of courtship we are attracted to qualities that match or complement our own personality.  As the relationship evolves, we soon find that we don’t always agree or see eye-to-eye on everything.

It takes time to become more fully aware of another’s personality and to understand it. Each of us is a  mosaic of personality traits that create the composite of who we are. Like a mosaic, even if the same colors are used, no two creations  are exactly alike. 

So it is with personalities. Where we may be similar in one area, we might be on opposite ends of the scale in another. Being aware of the degree to which we lean one way or the other can be an eye-opening experience. It is also essential to creating intimacy to accept and appreciate each other’s unique qualities. Check out the Personality Scale below.
Are you an introvert or an extravert? Are you open to change or more conventional? Are you inclined to be spontaneous or more deliberate and conscientious? Would your friends describe you as forthright or agreeable? Emotionally reactive or calm? The degree to which we lean one way or the other defines our personality.
“Daniel feels unsettled and chaotic when the surfaces in our house are cluttered because he can’t set things down and feels like he cannot breathe. Clutter doesn’t bother Tirzah as much because in the midst of her clutter and chaos she still knows where everything is that she needs to find.

Tirzah began to notice that Daniel’s weekly requests were always asking for her to come alongside him in cleaning off surfaces in our home. This highlighted how important it was to Daniel that areas be kept picked up and uncluttered. Now, we have a plan to keep spaces picked up and clutter free so that Daniel can be more comfortable at home.”

~ Daniel and Tirzah

MarriageTeam Coaches

To build back the connection takes awareness, acceptance, and skills to work with differences and similarities that don’t work well for the relationship.  It’s also important to celebrate our uniqueness. Here are steps to begin:

  • Identify your individual personality characteristics.
  • Name how similarities and differences influence the relationship positively and negatively.
  • Choose one trait or situation and brainstorm ways to change the pattern to achieve different results.
  • Create an agreement for when that situation arises in the future. Agree what you will each will do differently and how you each would like to be reminded if you forget.
  • Celebrate our teammate’s similarities and traits that balance our own.

Following these steps will open doors to more intimacy as we respect and celebrate the unique qualities in each other.