5 Reasons why you and your partner 
HAVE TO do a Temperament Test
Do you sometimes struggle to understand your partner’s actions? Do his/her reactions to certain situations leave you speechless? Do you wish that you could do something to better connect with each other? Then your marriage can definitely benefit from a comprehensive temperament test.

Most couples have at some point or another, done their LOVE LANGUAGES test... The same way, couples all over the world are continuing to invest in their marriages, by finding out their SUPERPOWERS (temperaments)!
With holiday around the corner, you decide to plan a fantastic road trip for the family. After hours of internet research, of scouting reviews and an in-depth study of the road map, you have put together wonderful tour through the Cape interior, but hubby takes one look and pulls a face. “Do you really think that this is a good idea? We are going to be driving all day long…” You point out that it isn’t that far between the destinations after all, but he stays grumpy. “That isn’t my idea of a vacation,” he says. You lose your temper and your enthusiasm for this project that took you months to put together. This is an argument waiting to happen – one that could possibly lead to a major fallout. Who is this grumpy guy you married? And why can’t he understand that you are unhappy – and that this holiday is exactly what you need…

It is usually easy for a parent to understand a child’s temperament and parents often group their children into specific categories: “Oh my word, Dean was such a happy-go-lucky, dream child, but Sarah? She had colic as a baby and now she is a difficult teenager!” Temperament is an indication of an individual’s emotional intensity and can be identified shortly after birth. Although many experts believe that it is an early sign of personality, it is one’s temperament, combined with experiences, that ultimately establishes long-term character traits. If only it were as easy as asking your mother-in-law how your husband behaved as a baby, for you to know how to handle him. It isn’t though, because by the time you have met your other half, other influences have already played a big role, and of course she will classify her baby from her perspective (which wouldn’t necessarily match yours).

Your temperament is inherited from and influenced by six people – your parents and four grandparents, according to the marriage platform Marriage Capsule. It is the original version of who you really are (before you were raised, educated and formed by events in your life). Habits and learned behaviour build character and shape the image that you present to the world. But understanding your temperament can empower and liberate you – it is after all how you were created. You don’t have to pretend, compare yourself to Facebook and Insta-friends, or be who you think your partner wants you to be. Every person is unique – with his/her own temperament. And every temperament has its own strengths and weaknesses.

Your temperament is the strongest influence on your behaviour. Yes, your background, forming years, environment and the culture within which you were raised all have a big influence on your personality and habits, but your temperament greatly determines your actions, reactions and motivation.

What does a temperament test entail for a couple?
It means that you and your partner will complete a fun test that would clarify your different temperaments for yourselves and each other. It will expose your vulnerabilities and therefore a couple needs to be able to trust each other with the information that is revealed. You may not use your partner’s weaknesses against him/her. The condition (before you start the test) is that you will provide mutual emotional support and that you will not judge each other’s mistakes.
Of course, no temperament test is perfect, but it will provide answers about your nature and also your relationship dynamics so that you can better understand each other in order to build a stronger marriage.

Marriage Capsule has developed the *LOFS Temperament Test, based on the four temperaments that were classified by Hippocrateds between 460-370BC. It comes down to each person being born with one of four primary temperaments: Choleric, Melancholic, Sanguine and Phlegmatic – or Ocean, Snow, Fountain and Lake as per the LOFS test.

REASON #1: It will help you better understand each other
Would you like to know where your partner’s endless energy comes from? Because while you relax with a book, he cycles a marathon and returns as if he is Superman! His mood can be stabilised by getting into action, while you need some peace and quiet. 

You can also learn more about your partner’s “rhythm” and why he needs to eat at seven-o-clock and go to bed at ten, while you would eat Rice Krispies at three in the morning and at the spur of the moment drive to the Drakensberg. 

A temperament test can teach you about approach and avoidance, adjustment and impulsivity. And you can finally understand why the kids’ favourite song, which is on repeat in the car, makes your head spin while your partner seems to be lost in his own thoughts. And your partner can understand why you are so irritable after your toddler has been hanging on your leg the whole day. (Here’s a clue: It has got everything to do with your awareness of and sensitivity to sounds, smells, sights, attests or touch stimuli.

Why does your husband seem to be lost in his own world while you are discussing serious issues? Why do you struggle to see something through? The temperament test can bring clarity in so many respects! It can help you better understand your partner and thereby, better prepare for his/her reaction.
REASON #2: It helps you as a couple to minimise conflict
When you got married, it felt like the honeymoon would last forever. Then, 11 months later, you wake up one morning and can’t understand why he can just lazily stroll through the day while there is so much to do! Pure frustration. Well, let us tell you something: Temperament clashes in a marriage are inevitable. These usually emerge after about ten months of living together and reaches a critical point in the second year. (You just can’t understand why he has to read the terms and conditions ten times over, while you only skim through them – it drives you crazy!) 

According to Art and Larraine Bennet, authors of the book The Temperament God gave your Spouse, the problem isn’t that we get tired of our partner’s uniqueness, but rather that we start worrying that things that are important to us, are not as significant to our partner, and that our emotional needs, therefore, will not be fulfilled. If you as a couple can have compassion for each other’s temperaments and appreciate your differences, you will grow in the process. So, the “Lake” personality will learn how to initiate holiday plans and the “Ocean” personality will count to ten before sounding the hooter. You CAN overcome the conflict, but without intervention it can take ten to twenty years. If you want to start working as a team before then, do a temperament test.
REASON #3: It gives clarity about your relationship dynamic
“Hey, I didn’t know that you also like your personal space?” You’ve always thought that, because hubby is so jovial, he doesn’t really care about personal space, but his temperament test shows the opposite. And that is why you have to do this test! You can discover similarities you didn’t even know about. Or differences that actually complement each other. If your temperaments are alike, it will be easy for you to put yourself in your partner’s shoes in an empathetic way and this can eliminate much conflict. 

But if you differ, you can also balance and complement each other. You jump into the lake, while hubby first throw in a line to measure the depth… and actually you are the perfect combination because there is a balance between you two. However, if you don’t know that you feel totally different about certain aspects, and are wired differently, you may find yourselves in trouble. You may have to work extra hard to connect, so do a temperament test. Thereby you can quickly identify where you will have to work harder and where you don’t have to.
REASON #4: It can improve communication
He says that his coffee is cold. You hear: “My coffee is cold because you always waste time unnecessarily.” One of the biggest reasons for marriage trouble is communication, but knowing your partner’s temperament can improve your communication techniques. On Above and Beyond Christian Counseling’s website (www.aandbcounseling.com), Don Ibbitson writes that a temperament test can reveal a lot about how you communicate. It can clear up the following:
  • When is it a good time to initiate a conversation? Your partner might need a moment after a long work day. He first wants to pour a whisky before you shower him with stories. You can’t wait, because you have been waiting the whole day to discuss certain things with him. If you understand each other’s temperaments in this way, you can develop a better strategy.
  •  Let’s talk about the moolah! Some temperaments tend to fear economic failure while it doesn’t matter so much to others. You might think that your partner is just stingy because he doesn’t want to agree to that overseas trip. In return, he thinks that you are a big spender who doesn’t think about the future. If this sounds familiar, a temperament test can make a big difference in your marriage. 
  •  You know the signs… his lips turn white and the veins pulse on his forehead, but he doesn’t say a word. You in turn, spit out the words without counting them! Some temperaments don’t easily express their anger in ordinary situations or arguments, but unresolved anger that is suppressed, often ends with an explosion. Get to know your partner’s way of dealing with anger. 
  •  What words should you rather avoid? Some temperaments react better with facts and logic (“I told you seven years ago that if our situation doesn’t improve by 30%, things will not work out”), while others delve deep into feelings and emotions (“That time when you confessed to me and poured out your heart, I saw your anguish and it scared me”). If you want to resolve conflict and better connect with your partner, get to know his/her temperament.
  •  How talkative is your partner? Is he a chatterbox while you only have a mouthful of words? Your partner’s temperament also influences the number of words he or she uses. It is good to know when to encourage your partner to talk and when to do something to make sure you get word in.
REASON #5: It can show you what your partner needs
One of your priorities as a spouse is to help your partner grow in order to become the best version of themselves. That is after all what you want! But how can you do that if you don’t know what your partner’s needs are? Successful relationships are built on meeting basic needs: What does your partner need to feel happy, content and emotionally secure? Are you willing to fulfil these needs? Is your partner willing to fulfil yours? If either party isn’t willing to meet the other person’s (reasonable) needs, the relationship cannot flourish.

An analysis of your different temperaments is very useful. If you realise how much your partner values alone time, that it is “sacred time” when he/she recharges his/her batteries because of a low need for socialisation, you will think twice before scheduling three parties in one weekend. If you truly understand how integral it is to his/her personality, you can help your partner recharge by sometimes closing the door behind you and asking the kids to go and play outside. Or you might only accept every second social invitation because you realise that it is draining for your partner to visit friends ever so often.

Don says: “Temperament analysis is a handy tool to quantify the God-given differences that we know exist in us due to our unique compositions. It is not an excuse for bad behaviour, but rather provides useful insight into our individuality, which can be beneficial in every aspect of our lives – including family, work, church and friendship.”

REMEMBER:
The moment that our relationships become stagnant and stop growing, the alarm bells should ring because then our marriages are in danger. By considering the five reasons why you should take a temperament test, you will establish growth in your marriage. The acronym LOFS stands for LakeOcean, Fountain and Snow. The test is unique because it is a temperament test focused on couples, where both partners will discover their primary and secondary temperaments, as well as their unique combination, eg. LakeOcean. 

LOFS are used by hundreds of couples to make sense of their unique relationships. 
Additional resources: www.foryourmarriage.org; www.aandbcounseling.com
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