Communication Style Impacts More Than Just Business

Bill and Marie met in college and instantly bonded because of their keen intellects, love of learning, and interest in current events. The courtship was quick and unromantic especially hastened by graduation and plans to attend university in another state. He pursued the law and eventually specialized in taxation. She studied Victorian literature and became a college professor.

Within the first decade of marriage they had conceived three sons. Financially they were comfortable and easily handled the various trials and tribulations of raising children, seeing parents age and pass away, and the obligations of two careers. Overall life was good to them without any major challenges. Yet unbeknownst to Bill, Marie had decided to initiate divorce proceedings when their youngest child graduated college.
What happened?

Bill’s personality was black and white – literally. He did everything by the book. It annoyed him, later infuriated him, when Marie interrupted any conversation, whether it was between them or not. They had had long discussions about this behavior, which Marie seemed unable to change. She was upset with his rigidity and inability to understand that her comments were meant to be supportive and not intended to be disrespectful. She felt demeaned by his caustic judgment and it eroded her self-esteem and positive regard for Bill.

Something changed which saved their marriage. Marie learned about personality types. This decision was based on professional not personal goals. During the course of her individual consultations, she never once mentioned her difficult marital relationship or plans to divorce. She enjoyed the twice monthly sessions absorbing the information like a parched flower and within a short time had developed proficiency in understanding the differences between the 4 types.

Upon completion she was asked to name the biggest benefit. Immediately she replied, “It saved my marriage!” By realizing that Bill was behaving true to his personality style, she no longer was bothered by his inflexibility. She also found it easier to check her impulse to comment because she could let go of her own tendencies to bond through conversation.

It’s been over a year since her youngest son graduated college. Now empty nesters, Bill and Marie have more discretionary funds with which to enjoy cultural activities and visit their children who now live throughout the United States and Asia. They are truly enjoying life and each other.

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