Do You Match Your Mate?
There’s still more you can do to determine whether you and your mate match, complement, or alienate each other’s psycho/social needs. In this section, we’ll examine just how well you and your husband fit together using popular personality tests that reveal a person’s character and temperament. Before delving into how you take these tests, and why you would want to; let’s go back in history to gain a sense of what theories gave rise to them—and why they remain relevant in the twenty-first century.
Since ancient times, physicians and philosophers have attempted to classify organisms, pathologies, and, finally people. Hippocrates and later, Galen, notably thought that individuals fell into one of four categories, according to which of the four vital fluids (e.g., Blood, phlegm, yellow or black bile); organs (e.g., spleen, gall bladder, liver, or brain/lungs); elements (air, water, fire, earth ); and seasons (spring, winter, summer, or autumn) most influenced his nature. Humans were accordingly classified as either: sanguine, where blood, spleen, air, and spring rule, and the person is buoyant, cheerful, and good natured; or phlegmatic, ruled by phlegm, gall bladder, water, and winter, and the person is calm, reliable, dependable, and deliberate; or choleric, ruled by yellow bile, liver, fire, and summer, and the person is confident, aggressive, and quick-tempered; or melancholic, dominated by black bile (literally, in Greek, μελας χολη or melas kholé), brain, liver, earth, and autumn, and the person is depressed, dejected, and brooding.
From another ancient perspective, the Hindus believed (and still do) that human existence involves the duality of life represented by the complementary pairing of opposites: creation and destruction; life and death; male and female; pain and pleasure; and success and failure. This duality is famously symbolized by the Taoist “Tai Chi” emblem, a circle of interlocking fetal shapes of contrary colors (usually black for the female yin and white for the male yang), each with a dot of the opposing color in the body of the other.
Bringing these views together—the four temperaments and the duality of life—eminent Swiss psychiatrist, Carl G. Jung, formulated his theories of individuation and human typology. According to Jung, much as the “Tai Chi” symbol suggests, each man has a female aspect, one that lies deep within and provides him access to the unconscious (the collective unconscious); while the female has a corresponding male aspect, the “animus,” which performs the same function for her. Therefore, each person must embrace his “other” countrasexual component in order to achieve a fully integrated, functional personality: one that could be categorized or “typed” according to four factors and their several polar opposites.
Jung Love According to Plato’s dialogue, “Symposium,” Socrates said that in love we are looking for our other half that was part of us before Zeus ordered us “cut in half.” Jung, familiar with the Dialogue, thought that when we found our “other half” or felt “love at first sight,” what we really did was encounter the personification of our anima or animus projections in the flesh, causing us to “fall in love.”
For Jung, the primary distinction of personality concerned whether a person’s psychological orientation was toward the outer world of objects, i.e., people, places, activities, and things; or the inner subjective world of one’s thoughts, images, and feelings. Jung called those with outward-looking, environmental orientation “extraverted”; and those who directed their focus inward, “introverted” (E/I). Jung’s next the three classifying factors concerned a person’s psychological functioning. Premised upon the way in which an individual collected, sorted, managed, and processed information; he would be considered either a: senser or intuiter (S/I); a thinker or feeler (T/F); or a judger or perceiver (J/P). From these four different categories, one could be described sixteen different ways, but you’d need a lot of energy and pencil lead to figure them out—until the middle of the last century.
Back then, a mother-daughter team, Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, devised an objective ninety-four item test based upon Jung’s typology theory. Their Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI™) assesses a person’s preferences over four bipolar scales: Extraversion-Introversion (E/I), Sensing-Intuition (S/N), Thinking-Feeling (T/F) and Judgment-Perception (J/P). Depending on how high they scored on the four scales, respondents were categorized as one of sixteen possible types—none better than the other—but each descriptive enough to let an individual know what his possible strengths and weaknesses would be, as well as how he would relate to people in general, and with a person, in particular, if he too, took the test.
If you are interested in learning about your “types,” arrange to take the MBTI™ by contacting the Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT). Or, consider taking a facsimile test found on the Web. Whichever test you choose, ask your husband to take it, too (to identify his "type"). You’ll see from the results whether you are, as a couple, compatible, complementary, or antagonistic. Whichever, having an idea of how your husband views the world, and what functions are dominant or weak, will give you at least a good topic of conversation, not to mention insight on how to approach each other in the future.
Sixteen Possible Myers Briggs/Keirsey Types
If you are, say an, INTJ (idealist) and he’s a ESFP (artisan), you’re completely opposite in types, but are probably complementary in helping each other access the other’s “shadow,” or weaker ways of functioning; which, according to Jung, is a critical step in reaching “individuation” (much like Maslow’s “self-actualization” concept). On the other hand you can be the same “type” and share very little in common, except how you manage information. (Some say that Albert Einstein and the Unabomber had the same rational/thinker “type”—INTP—though they certainly were different kinds of individuals.)
No matter what type you and your husband are, the results and the accompanying report and descriptions will provide you both with greater understanding of how you operate, individually, and as a couple. Plus, despite any major differences in orientation (you might be an introvert, he might be an extrovert) and functioning—whether you differ on each scale of Sensing-Intuition (SN), Thinking-Feeling (TF) and judgment-Perception (JP); you selected each other as mates because your fit was as much psychological, as it was chemical, biological, social, and cultural. Keeping this in mind can help each of you appreciate the uniqueness of your bond and take actions to ensure it grows deeper, more profound, and poacher-proof.
Resources on the Web
©2007-2015. Marie H. Browne & Marlene M. Browne. All rights reserved.