How do I get along with my spouse?
Getting along in our marriage is a skill we must all learn. It’s not easy when opposite personality types typically attract, then those qualities that made us fall in love have now become our biggest irritant. How do I know this? This happens to me and my wife. We have our similarities, but it was our differences that started to come between us. She’s late, I like to be early, she’s a night person, I’m a morning person, she’s an introvert, I’m an extrovert. These differences are very common among couples. The conflict was evidence that we needed help to get along.
1 The Key...
The key to getting along with your spouse is taking the time to understand their personality traits. What motivates them, how do they give and receive love, are they task-oriented or people-oriented? All of this plays a role in how we communicate with each other, and ultimately... get along. Your commitment to finding a solution is a step in the right direction.
2 Chris's Perspective:
My wife and I are opposites in many ways. I am outgoing and loud. Because of this,(and the above mentioned) we have had a lot of conflict in our marriage. We’ve been able to weather the storms because we have been committed to each other for 27 years. However, it’s not always been comfortable or easy.
Since we also have kids we felt we owed it to them to figure out any differences so they can see what a healthy marriage looks like. Heck, I really have no interest in screwing up my kids by not getting this marriage thing right. That totally scares me!
What this does NOT mean:
I am NOT compromising who I am as a man. She married a man and I am just wired differently than her. That is obvious. In fact, Tara has stated that is what she wants..a man who is confident in who he is as a man.
Additionally, I am not her girlfriend. There are certain subjects I just will not be able to understand where she is coming from so there is no need to go there.
Lastly, adapting my communication to her does not mean I am going to have to go through “inner healing” and all my daddy issues. Sure, those things I may need to do but not a requirement for understanding each other.
3 Tara's Perspective:
As a child, if I didn’t get along with another kid I wouldn’t hang out with them anymore, things were much simpler then, lol
My parents didn’t give me the best example of how to get along either. My dad often gave my mom the cold shoulder treatment until they both pretended to forget about the disagreement. I say pretended because whenever a new fight would break out the old fight was mentioned. Choosing to not put the time into really getting to know each other was an example of what not to do. I knew my parents loved each other and us kids but they didn’t have the right tools for success to get along in their marriage.
After Chris and I got married I thought we would naturally get along since we were so head over heels in love with each other. We did, and still do, have a great marriage, but like every great marriage, we’ve had our fair share of ups and downs.
Life is difficult when Chris and I aren’t getting along. There’s tension in the house that everyone can feel. We have both taken responsibility to understand each other better and to find solutions to our differences. One of the tools that have helped us was taking the DISC personality profile. This tool has helped me countless ways in how I respond to Chris, and how I process his communication style, sometimes we can predict how each other will respond!
Two Steps That Can Help You Move Forward Towards Getting Along.
Step 1: Be Committed To The Cause
We say, “till death due us part”, but do we really mean it? Be committed to the relationship! Divorce is not an option. In fact, make a pact at the beginning of your marriage (or NOW) to NEVER mention the “D” word. Two people who love each other and are willing to put forth the effort can learn how to get along better. Write a letter to each other renewing your commitment to making your marriage a priority. This will create a safe place for open dialogue and discussion to happen with a common cause in mind. Commitment means doing what you said you would do long after the feeling you said it in is gone. (Think* committing on Sunday night while watching the Crossfit games to getting up at 5:00 am the next morning and when that alarm goes off you now don’t feel like it anymore.)
Step 2: Take a Personality Test
Take the DISC personality test. You will learn a great deal not only about your spouse but yourself as well. There are many good personality tests, but the best one in our opinion is the DISC. It’s easy to remember and apply. It has revolutionized our marriage as well as helped us get along with our children better. (we can help you take the test that’s right for you)
To get along, understanding how each of you is wired is the most important skill you can learn.
However, it’s not just understanding your spouse but caring enough to adapt your communication to best suit the other’s personality.
For example, for us, ONE thing we learned is that I am more of a risk-taker and Tara is not. That fact alone has been gold! It explains WHY she would not talk to me for a bit when we moved from NC to CA. If I had known that about her we would have had a lot LESS conflict in our marriage. Moving across the country would have been a lot less stressful for both of us.
4 Being able to learn how Tara is wired and showing her that I am willing to learn how to communicate with her has both saved and put the spice back into our marriage.
It was not until we both took personality tests that we could understand each other and make significant headway in our ability to get along. One of those, “I wish I knew then what I know now” kinda moments.