What attracts us to someone else can be the very point of conflict thereafter.
I’m an introvert. I thrive on alone time. I can sit on a mountain peak for hours at a time and feel energized. Or on the back porch of a mountain cabin overlooking the protruding peaks and undulating valleys. No company needed. Curling up in either of these two places or in my recliner at home is perfectly satisfying. No sound required. My wife, on the other hand, is an extrovert. She thrives on people and noise. She’s a social butterfly. Of course, we complement each other. She makes up for what I lack in social skills, but on the other hand, I remind her of the importance of down time. We knew each other’s personalities before we married. But if we aren’t vigilant, what attracted us to each other can be our source of conflict in the present.
Meshing personalities begins with recognizing different personalities exist. God made all people wonderfully complex with different body styles and personality types. Extrovert versus introvert. Sensor versus intuitive. Thinker versus feeler. Judger versus perceiver.
Only when I understand the language and actions of a person’s personality—whether it’s my spouse, child, peer, or work partner, can I adequately communicate with them, work with them, appreciate them, and enjoy their company. Knowing the enemy—or in this case the other person’s personality characteristics, is half the battle.
Rather than personality types causing conflicts, they can actually add spice to relationships and life in general. Had God created us identically, life would be boring. The very traits that attract me to others may be the exact things that lead to conflict later if I’m not watchful. Appreciating and complementing the personalities of others and the differences they display, however, will lead to unity and a richer life.
When others’ differences seem to get in the way, remember God made us as we are. Seek peace, not conflict.
Prayer: God of wonder and beauty, help us use our differences to make this world a better place.