I Love My Lion

Bryant and I spent the weekend in Pickwick on the Young Adults Marriage Retreat with Steve and Donna. It was such a nice time to get to know our pastor and his wife more and to listen to them share their heart on marriage and family.

Donna only spoke a few minutes Saturday on personalities, but B and I discussed it the entire ride home this morning. We reflected for quite some time on the similarities and differences between our personalities. We even named each family member on both sides and tried to determine what their dominant traits were. This wasn't the first time we have talked about personalities, but it was the first time we've heard each temperament explained with names of animals.

In Gary Smalley and John Trent's, The Two Sides of Love, the 4 temperaments include the Lion, Beaver, Otter and Golden Retriever. Obviously these names refer to the Choleric, Melancholic, Sanguine and Phlegmatic personalities. But I have so many negative connotations of these terms, that I was eager to trade them in for more lovable language. For example, who doesn't love a Golden Retriever?

It seems that many married couples have at least one similar temperament even if it is their secondary or tertiary trait. Bryant is a Lion -> Golden Retriever -> Otter and I am a Beaver -> Lion -> Otter. At first glance, one might say we are mostly alike because we are both "Lions", but I think we are more similiar as "Otters" because of where it ranks as our #3. Otters are optimistic, friendly and mix easily. We both have these similar qualities. However, our Lion characteristics are very different.

Being a Lion, Bryant is strong willed, adventurous and takes charge. I am also strong willed, but as a Beaver I am scheduled and enjoy instructions (meaning I am not the first one to take charge). Since B is also part Golden Retriever, he is calm, non-demanding and adaptable. All the things I am not! But he has very little Beaver in him, so he says my detailed self complements him very well!

We also had some laughs as we came across phrases such as "Bad Beaver" and "Retriever Beaver". "Bad Beaver" refers to some of my tendencies that are not so desirable (in my mind) as being a perfectionist and very analytical. But through this study we can see how wonderfully God has paired the two of us. There is no other personality that would work so well with my Beaver -> Lion than a Lion -> Retriever. Where I can be so uptight, B is there to teach me to calm down. When I get caught up in details, he steps in and shows me the big picture. When my independence and self-reliance roars up, because he is stronger he can lead me.

Today I celebrate my marriage - and my Lion Retriever. Never again will I think of Bryant's personality as Choleric -> Phlegmatic. And I won't wonder in times of frenzy why my dominant trait had to be Melancholic. I will seek the Lord as to how He wants to use my qualities for His glory and let His Spirit soften the traits that don't reflect Him. Our personalities will not change, but our perspective can.

If you and your Valentine would like to take the Personality Inventory, click here.

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