Shawnda Muir
Slideshow image

Dear Friends,

When we marry, we aren’t always fully aware of every nuance and facet of our spouse’s personality. As we get to know one another, we learn more about what makes them tick–and what aspects of their personality might clash with ours over time. It’s a normal part of living and sharing intimacy with another human being.

The same holds true for your children. We may not realize it, but it’s very possible that our children’s personalities could clash with ours. That’s not normally something that a hopeful or new parent is prepared for, but it’s a reality in many families.

To have a healthy marriage and thriving children is a blessing. But when you have personality extremes living under one roof, it can be challenging from time to time. If you’re wondering how to navigate personality clashes with your spouse and kids, read on, from Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott.

1. EXERCISE PATIENCE AND GRACE

No two people are the same. We know this, yet we can become easily frustrated when the people closest to us act in a way we don’t understand. If you have intense personality clashes in your household, the first things you need to master are patience and grace.

You’ll need to be able to treat your spouse and children with patience and extend grace to them when it’s needed. After all, you’d want them to do the same for you. Learning to embrace empathy–or taking a walk in someone else’s shoes–will go a long way toward helping you nurture a more supportive environment.

2. DON’T ASSUME ILL INTENT

It can be all too easy to assume ill intent when someone upsets us. In reality, your spouse or child might have simply made a decision that doesn’t align with your personality–but might with theirs. Rather than making assumptions, take a step back and ask yourself why, based on their personality, they might have made that move.

Assuming the best will help you see each member of your family in a more positive light. This is especially true when you’re navigating personality clashes. When you assume the best first, you’ll be more likely to find constructive solutions for the issues you face together.

3. EMBRACE HUMOR AND FUN

It’s easy to take offense to one another when we’re very different people. What if we used humor instead? When we lean into humor, it can soothe a number of woes. Likewise, finding reasons to have fun together could help take the edge off.

Laugh with purpose. Intentionally seek out reasons to smile together. Try using humor when you find yourself in tough situations to lighten the mood. Staying focused on negative feelings or difficult emotions will only amplify those hard feelings.

4. MAKE PLENTY OF SPACE FOR YOUR INDIVIDUAL NEEDS

In a family with many varied personalities, it’s important to allow each person space and time to tend to their individual needs and interests. Spouses can discuss needs between one another and create space for those needs to be met. If you have children, you’ll want to help make a safe space for them to get what they need, too.

Let’s look at a few basic examples. Maybe you and your spouse are extroverts, but one of your kids is an introvert. Honor their needs and give them plenty of opportunities to spend time alone and recharge. On the other hand, if you’re an introvert married to an extrovert, you’ll want to support your spouse’s need for interaction, however that looks for the two of you.

5. INTENTIONALLY WORK TO MANAGE STRESS

Managing your stress levels intentionally will help to set you up for success if you have clashing personalities in your home. Being able to maintain patience and extend grace will depend heavily upon whether you can manage other stressors in your life. If you want to avoid experiencing pile-on, then you’ll need to figure out how best to manage stress.

Your outlets for stress management will depend largely on your personality, so take your time in choosing the right approach for you. In the end, successfully navigating personality clashes in your family will come down to the small decisions you make from one day to the next. They all add up, so choose wisely.

If you’re finding it particularly difficult to navigate your spouse or child’s personality, our book High-Maintenance Relationships might be helpful to you. It’s a straightforward guide to doing life with people who may not always be easy to be around. You can grab a copy here.

****************

We hope you enjoyed this blog. Click here to go to MMOC's marriage website pages for previous posts and other info. 

Contact our MFL team for marriage support anytime. 

God Bless,

Your Marriage, Family and Life Team