Do you ever find yourself getting annoyed with your partner’s personality? Of course, you still love them unconditionally, but man, sometimes you just can’t help but wonder… Why do they do that? Why are they that way??
The ironic thing is that if you’ve been together for any length of time, the traits that start to annoy you are often the same ones that drew you to each other initially. That gregarious sense of humor now sometimes makes you grit your teeth. Those superb planning skills can feel more exhausting than efficient.
Personality traits tend to stay pretty consistent over the course of life, which means attempting to change them or waiting for them to change on their own is not the best use of anyone’s time, energy, or relationship! What’s more useful? Learning to appreciate your partner’s personality and manage your differences and similarities in positive ways. Here are some tips to do just that.
If there’s an aspect of their personality that sometimes irks you, flip your perspective and think of the positive sides of that trait. Then give them a nice compliment. Be specific (and genuine, of course!) For example, if your partner is a homebody and prefers fewer social events than you, the flip side might be that they have a knack for making time at home together peaceful and relaxing. You might say, “You’re so good at prioritizing quality time at home. You make it a sanctuary for our family, and it means a lot.”
Keep a sense of humor.
This applies to how you react to them, as well as to yourself! If you occasionally find parts of your partner’s personality to be irritating, well guess what – they probably experience the same with you. It’s all good! It simply comes with the territory of knowing someone well. So don’t take yourselves too seriously. Make up a funny name for your bossy side or start an inside joke about taking an hour to leave social gatherings. Allowing each other to be completely themselves is one of the ways we can show and feel love.
Brag on them.
Have you ever noticed how talking to a third party about your partner can sometimes give you a refreshed perspective? It can help you see things more objectively and appreciate traits that you might be overlooking or taking for granted. Maybe you’re talking with friends, and while there is some good-natured venting going on, the topic at hand makes you realize how observant and thoughtful your spouse is. Instead of keeping the thought to yourself, don’t be afraid to gush over them a bit – even in their presence!
Make differences work for you.
Do you know any couples whose personalities seem to perfectly complement each other? Maybe you are one of them, in which case this might come pretty naturally to you. However, sometimes even the most well-matched couples have personality differences that take more effort to make work in their favor. Whether it’s getting creative with how you split household duties or agreeing on a “1-week rule” as a compromise for how you make big decisions, differences don’t have to be detrimental. They have the potential to make you a great team!
Understand your similarities.
We usually think of the differences as the main source of conflict, but being very similar in certain ways can also cause some friction. For example, if you’re both very stubborn or competitive, you might let arguments go on too long or have trouble apologizing. If you both dislike change, you might be prone to complacency or have a hard time being flexible when you need to be. Being aware of how your similarities might cause imbalance in certain areas of your relationship can help you avoid letting it go too far.
Our individual personalities are not only the consistent foundation of who we are, they are also a huge part of what makes a relationship work. Over time, familiarity can create friction as different aspects of our partner’s personality interact with our own. Learning to see the differences and similarities in a positive light while appreciating each other for who you are will help your relationship continue to grow.
Want to explore how to leverage personality to strengthen your relationship?
Check out our Discussion Guide for Couples, which has an entire section devoted to personality, in addition to 13 other crucial topics. Discussion prompts guiding meaningful conversation alongside practical next steps make this guide the perfect companion to your next date night.
if interested in the ‘Discussion Guide’, email firstname.lastname@example.org