Being a newly married man, I had a great deal of appreciation for this book, The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse by Art and Laraine Bennett. This book provided me with something that I think every married woman and man should have . . . insight. Having insight on someone you care about does not mean that you know them completely inside and out, it does not mean that they fit into some perfect form or definition, and it certainly is not a self-fulfilling prophesy. Having insight on someone you care about means that you have some understanding of the person. You are able to connect with the things that make them the person that you love. You identify some of the personality traits that make them special and unique. Not only identifying traits that make that person special, but having insight also can shed light on some of the tendencies and character flaws that lead us to bad habits, or even worse ... sin. Having insight also provides a basis for improving communication, because each of us have ways in which we like, and are more effective in communicating. Having an understanding of the four temperaments that you and your spouse have can provide wonderful insight into the special personality and gifts that God has blessed you with and can provide a wonderful starting point in improving and strengthening your marriage.
The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse is the follow up book to The Temperament God Gave You. I personally have not read Art and Laraine's first book, and I did not find it necessary to read it first in order to grasp and understanding of the four temperaments or the concepts in this book. I do think however that reading the first book would provide additional knowledge and a greater understanding of the four temperaments. Listed below are the four temperaments and a brief description of each (excerpts from the book):
- Choleric: "The choleric is your original 'Type A' personality: he wants to take charge and get things done. If that lead to conflict, so much the better! ... Cholerics exhibit quick, intense, sustained reactions to both external and internal stimuli. Cholerics are decisive, determined, and goal-oriented."
- Phlegmatic: "The key to the phlegmatic is that he is a peacemaker: he hates conflict, especially interpersonal conflict. ... Phlegmatics are dependable, polite, and even-tempered. Phlegmatics tend to feel more comfortable in a small group of friends or even spending a quiet evening relaxing at home."
- Sanguine: "The sanguine is your classic 'people person' - the life of the party, fun-loving, and talkative. Sanguines have quick, intense, but short-lived reactions. They live in the present moment, and prefer that moment to be full of company and activity."
- Melancholic: "Melancholics are known for their deep introspection, the depth and vehemence of their sentiments, and their nobility of purpose. Critical perfectionists, melancholics are cautious, somewhat pessimistic, detail-oriented, and serious."
This book takes us into what the four temperaments are, and provides wonderful examples of saints and other important figures. There are also numerous examples of married couples and how the temperaments play out and shape their marriages. The book takes us through the strengths and weaknesses of each temperament. It shows us how we can play upon the strengths, and recognize and combat the weaknesses. Authors have included how each of the temperaments may manifest themselves in several different areas of our lives, such as: love life, parenting, and spiritual/prayer life. The book does a fabulous job of showing how when spouses of different temperaments are together, many fruits can come about by letting the natural strengths of the temperaments manifest and compliment each other. Naturally of course there is no perfect pair, and there is always things and dangers that we must be aware of. The authors are sure to address how when particular temperaments are together, there a certain tendencies and behaviors to look out for.
Having an understanding of the four temperaments allows us to not only have insight into our own traits and tendencies that guide our behavior, but also allows us to gain insight into the traits and tendencies that guide our spouses and even our children. Having this sort of insight is a powerful tool in improving and strengthening a marriage. The authors have done a great job in making sure that we remember that even though we all have certain tendencies and natural behaviors, this book or any understanding of the temperaments should not be used to justify any sort of negative or immoral behavior. While the temperaments bring about many positive attributes, too much of any good thing can be bad. We must recognize and understand our natural temperament and the negatives that can come about from them. We must be continuously seeking God's will in our lives and follow His plan for us, instead of where our own desires lead. We must be seeking and maintaining a strong prayer life and asking for God's mercy and help in combating any negative behavior that is manifesting in our lives.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to anyone wishing to gain more insight into themselves and into their spouse. It is a great read and a great tool to help improve and strengthen any marriage.
**For more information about the Catholic Company or The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse please feel free to click on one of the links below.