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In most of my posts, I’ve talked about how personality assessments like Insights Discovery are useful in a business setting. Although it is certainly true that people behave differently at home and at work, fundamental personality traits are largely similar. Personality assessments like Insights can thus be beneficial for personal growth as well as being a business tool.

As an example of applying this methodology to personal spheres, today we’ll take a look at how understanding color types can benefit romantic couples.

Opposites Attract?

The old saying that opposites attract certainly seems to hold true. People like partners that complement them; there are often couples with one partner who is more outgoing and one who is more reserved, or one partner who is extremely serious and career-focused while the other is more relaxed and fun.

Oftentimes, dating someone different than ourselves challenges us to try new things. When we fail to venture outside of our comfort zones, we risk falling into a rut. An opposite partner can push us out of that, and help us embrace parts of ourselves we didn’t know existed.

In the same way that opposite pairings can complement each other at work, they can make for fun, engaging, and rewarding couples as well.

Relationships Over Time

There comes a time in every relationship, though, when the honeymoon period wears off. After several months together, people know most of what they can know about their partners, and after six months or so relationships typically settle into a set pattern of stable behavior for both partners.

This is when relationships become difficult: when partners no longer see each other as new and exciting, and they have to settle into the daily grind of life together. Who will remember to buy milk from the grocery store? Will someone’s partner come along with them to attend a boring work function? What shall we have for dinner tonight? The tedium of the day-to-day reality of a relationship inevitably comes into focus, and this is a point at which many relationships fail.

Relationships can only last beyond this point if both partners are willing to make adjustments to their lives for the benefit of the other person, and if they are willing to take time to understand their partner’s needs, goals, and motivations.

How Personality Differences Cause Conflicts

Understanding the mentality of opposing partners is particularly important when disagreements arise. To take a mundane example: imagine a couple who have theater tickets booked for 8pm. The journey takes 30 minutes, but sometimes there can be traffic. One partner wants to leave at 7 pm, while the other partner thinks this is a ridiculous waste of time, and wants instead to leave at 7:30 pm. This is the kind of disagreement that can balloon into a big argument quickly, with the couple ending up shouting at each other until both are unhappy with their evening out.

It could be that the person wanting to leave earlier is a cool blue, who likes planning in advance and is cautious about the risk of being late, which they find stressful and upsetting. And the person wanting to leave later might be a fiery red, who doesn’t like to wait around and wants to optimize their travel time. The blue sees the red as inconsiderate of their feelings and unrealistic about the world, and the red sees the blue as overly cautious and inflexible.

How Understanding Color Type Can Help Resolve Couple’s Quarrels

The key to resolving disagreements amicably is understanding why a person thinks and feels the way they do. When most couples argue, they attempt to persuade, instruct, or control their partner regarding how they should behave. But understanding is much more important than persuasion for long-term happiness.

Such tactics often get ascribed to malicious intent, when in fact there is just a misunderstanding. For example: the blue thinks that the red is deliberately trying to upset them by making them late, while the red thinks that the blue is needling at them about their lack of long-term planning.

This couple can explain their worries to each other so that a compromise can be reached. This is why advice about communication in relationships often stresses the importance of “I” statements: I find it upsetting when we are late, I feel uncomfortable standing around with nothing to do, and so on. The key is to communicate feelings, needs, and desires to the partner and to take ownership of those feelings.

The red needs to understand that the blue finds even the possibility of being late to be upsetting in a way that will prevent them from enjoying their evenings. And the blue needs to understand that the red finds the idea of standing around waiting while nothing happens to be irritating and anxiety-inducing. Neither of their actions is a deliberate slight of the other or an underhanded attempt to control their partner; they simply have different values which lead them to see the trip to the theater in different ways.

When understanding is available, a compromise can be reached: in this example, the couple could leave early and then spend half an hour at the bar before the show starts. This way, the blue’s anxiety about lateness is assuaged, and the red is not irritated by having nothing to do. Of course, not every disagreement will have a simple compromise that can make everyone happy, but the process of communicating one’s own feelings and being open to understanding one’s partner’s different preferences is key to a harmonious relationship.

To learn more about how personality assessments can help relationships in business and elsewhere, visit www.discoveryourself.com.