May 6

Understanding Your Partner’s Hardwiring

Relationship Dynamics


Our Hardwiring Affects Everything

Each of us comes into the world hard-wired a certain way. This wiring affects how we perceive and react to everything around us.

It dictates whether we will be oriented to task or relationships, whether we will be fast-paced or more moderately-paced, and whether we will be energized by socializing or by spending time alone.

Differences Attract

We are typically drawn to a marriage partner whose wiring is different from our own. If we were both the same, one of us would be unnecessary. We intuitively know this.

Don’t Try To Change Me

Oddly enough, we marry someone who is different from us and then try to change them – make them more like we are.

The only person who can change us, is us. No one wants someone else coming into their life and trying to change them. No one wants to be pushed.

We fight for our free will and the freedom to be who we are. When we feel pushed, we will always, overtly or subconsciously, push back.

It’s As Hard For Me To Be Like You As It Would Be For You To Be Like Me

Being different makes life both exciting and frustrating. When our partner’s way of being starts to drive us crazy, it’s helpful to realize that it would be as hard for them to be like us as it would be for us to be like them.

Let’s say that you are a social butterfly. You love parties. You never meet a stranger. Your spouse, on the other hand, is much more introverted. They find parties a bit unnerving and exhausting.

You agree to stay at a party together for two hours. After those two hours are over, you are having such a good time that you pressure your introverted spouse to stay longer.

What is likely to happen? Not only will they look miserable. They will become completely quiet and not make eye contact with anyone. It will be as if they are there, but not there.

This will embarrass and frustrate you. You are also likely to “pay” the next day by being on the receiving end of your spouse’s silent treatment.

It is as hard for your partner to stay at a party for three hours as it would be for you not to be able to go to the party at all.

The beauty of a healthy marriage is that you allow each other to be who you are. Yes, you will compromise so that you can meet each other’s needs, but you will not try to make your partner something that they are not.

How We Are Different

My husband, Roy, does math and is focused on tasks.
I do language and am focused on relationships.

Roy is good at everyday life.
I am good at planning and having fun.

Roy feels happy when tasks are done.
I feel happy when I can put a task off till tomorrow, or the next day, or even the day after that, and have a good conversation today.

I laughed out loud when I first saw the laundry basket that Roy uses. It’s so small it barely holds a towel and a pair of jeans.
Mine is so large, you can fit three small children in it and pull it around the room like it’s a car.

When Roy gets frustrated with me I say, “Your life would be so boring without me!”
And he agrees.

Learn How To Manage Your Differences

If you and your partner are struggling with some of each other’s behaviors, taking a personality assessment and receiving some coaching will help you better understand and manage your differences.

I can provide this for you. Just get in touch and I’ll take it from there.

About the author 

Susan Silvers

Susan’s approach to building excellent marriages is research and evidence-based. Her speaking, workshops, and marriage coaching draw on more than forty years of marriage research that have scientifically proven what it really takes to build a thriving marriage.

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