Marriage Week 2019: The influence of temperaments on marriage

Marriage Week 2019: The influence of temperaments on marriage

“A good understanding of your and your partner’s different temperaments can dramatically affect your marriage – for the better,” says Liezel van der Merwe, founder of SA Marriage Week. 

Couple cuddling on couch / iStock
Couple cuddling on couch / iStock

Marriage week runs from 1-7 September.  The theme for this year is ‘making sense of you, me and our lives together’, with the focus being on helping couples understand their temperaments. 

“Your temperament is the original version of who you are and it determines how you react to the world’s impulses,” says Liezel van der Merwe, founder of SA Marriage Week and director of and the Marriage Capsule

Liezel says “a good understanding of your and your partner’s different temperaments can dramatically affect your marriage – for the better.” 

According to Lynette Makuyana-Matema, a Psychosocial Department Manager from ZISIZE (Ingwavuma) Educational Trust, your temperament is inherited and influenced by six people – your parents and your four grandparents.

She says there are “four temperaments to help us understand ourselves and each other.”

“In psychology temperament broadly refers to consistent individual differences in behaviour that are biologically based and are relatively independent of learning, system of values and attitudes,” says Lynette.  

Below, she explains the four different types of temperaments: 

The sanguine

They are easily excited by external influences, reacting quickly. The sanguine commonly follows others and has little stability as a result. They change their moods often (from laughter to tears in a matter of seconds). The sanguine is often found entertaining others and is compassionate. The sanguine’s decisions are likely to be the wrong decisions, their undertaking fails easily since they believe success is inevitable and will, therefore, take it for granted, they are unstable, and they have little understanding of themselves since they rarely internalize conflict.

The melancholic

A person of this temperament is inclined to deep thoughts and reflection, dwelling on the past, looking ahead to the future, is very profound, finds meaning in just about everything, and is not satisfied with the superficial. The melancholic is driven by laws and principles.  Melancholies are commonly passive, reserved, irresolute, despondent, lacking courage, slow in thought and speech. Melancholies despise the lime-light, and would rather withdraw and let others receive recognition, even when they are praiseworthy. They also easily fall into mental distress and this can be extremely intense. Melancholies are excellent counsellors to friends, encouragers, give great affirmation when necessary, they are trustworthy and genuine.

The phlegmatic

They are not moved by impressions at all; their reactions are missing, or empty, and they fade quickly. They have little interest in what is going on around him/her. They love leisure and are often unmotivated to work. For them, everything proceeds at a slow pace. Phlegmatic people are inclined to things that require little to no effort (i.e. eating and drinking), is lazy, and neglects duties. One of the wonderful characteristics of a phlegmatic is that he/she is not easily offended, and not moved by failures or sufferings.

The Choleric

The choleric are enthusiastic, have very high aspirations and cravings for success. The choleric must be the best in everything and have the best of everything. They are extremely ambitious, having a keen intellect, a strong will, strong passions, an impulse to dominate others becoming their superior, making them subservient. The choleric is commonly prideful, full of him/her, thinking highly of his/her great qualities and even considers his/her faults worthy of praise. The choleric is successful in his/her profession, working diligently in spite of obstacles.

Lynette says understanding your temperament will benefit your relationship in the following ways:

  • It will help you better understand each other
  • It helps you as a couple to minimise conflict
  • It gives clarity about your relationship dynamic
  • It can improve communication
  • It can show you what your partner needs

ALSO READ: Dealing with finances in marriage

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