By Glyndora Condon MS MFT LPC
Derived from Tracy Moore's book, Me, You and People in Pew
We have all heard that opposites attract, and rightly so. This is how God made us so that we complete each other to work as one and reflect the image of God, as each human lacks aspects that they need. As we consider Adam and Eve, the first couple of the Bible from the date of creation, we must recall the verbiage of God. Genesis 2:18 God speaks that it is not good for man to be alone and that he needed a helper. The actual word means, a counterpart, an opposite, one that fits him. This not only applies to the physiological differences of male and female; but it also describes the differences of cognition, and even the differences of personality. As we consider Adam, then we see that he most resembles the personality of a Melancholy (an introvert who is most analytical, a perfectionist, organized, loyal, considerate, creative; but also who is given to depression, pessimism, un-forgiveness, insecurity, moodiness, and sometimes critical). He was given the duty to name all animals and woman. Others in scripture who reflects more of the melancholy personality are Solomon and perhaps, Elijah.
Adam blends this with a peacemaking personality ascribed to a Phlegmatic who averts from conflict. Other aspects of this personality includes the positives of humility, adaptability, servant focused, patient, humorous, balanced, faithful, submissive with a negative tendency towards apathy (lack of enthusiasm) internalized emotions and experiences high stress. When Satan came in the image of a serpent and then deceived Eve; note that Adam was not deceived. He was there, he was analyzing, he knew what God had said to them. But, part of this personality is one who is more likely to follow others, and one who dislikes conflict.
Then we consider Eve. She appears to possess more of a Choleric personality (extrovert who often is a leader, driven to achieve, persistent and determined, adventurer, decisive, competitive and bold which often, if in an extreme form-then these would have to deal with pride, controlling tendencies, perfectionism, without much sympathy, tact, and who can be rash and manipulative. An example in scripture who also appear to have this personality is Diotrephes that is found in 3rd John 1:9-10. Paul would also be a candidate to consider for this personality type.
This personality appears to blend with the Sanguine. Sanguine is a life giver; who is more animated, expressive, demonstrative, optimist, excitable and inspiring, cute and bouncy-with a negative tendency to get out of control, overly impulsive, most talkative, quick to speak without listening, forgetful, angry naive, scatter brained, and restless. Some examples of this personality type would be Peter (from scriptures) and Tom Sawyer from a literature example.
Satan used these personality tendencies to entice Eve with power and knowledge and she then became prideful and did eat-then gave the fruit to her husband who ate (although he was not deceived but was following her lead). As we consider the punishment to both we find that God forced Adam to be in a role of a leader which was contrary to his personality, along with labor and the responsibility to be in control and he place Eve under submission onto him to squelch her prideful tendency and gave her pain during childbirth. A fitting punishment for the situation where Adam valued Eve over God and where Eve valued being as wise and powerful as God over God's command. They had everything given to them except only ONE thing but greed and ill-placed allegiance upon their selves instead of to God; caused each to sin against God. Interesting isn't it?
Above, we see the personality types unfold and we see that both the Sanguine and the Choleric are extroverts and that the Melancholy and the Phlegmatic are introverts. People can exhibit one or both of the extroverts or one or both of the introvert personality traits; yet do not exhibit naturally from the total opposites. They learn the opposite and act the opposite during times of trial which will lead to some discomfort due to being out of the comfort zone for the personality that is manifesting. For example, people would assume that I was an extrovert, more of a Choleric due to the many leadership hats that I wear, yet would find it interesting to learn that I actually identify more as a Melancholy with a Phlegmatic blend, and that when in a leader position; there is a continual need to persevere and to work through the anxiety and the discomfort that is experienced outside my personality. I would be under the impression that I operate also from a Choleric personality since necessity requires me to navigate that forum and since I do so with success; but I do so with caution and stress even-though years have dictated my need to be self employed due to my physical health and situations that have arose.
I have found that I can provide leadership and own my business from my personality since it is a position of servitude where I am comfortable, as I attempt to keep the peace which works most of the time to de-escalate the level of stress that I would have otherwise experienced. I married a Choleric personality in my husband who I gladly submit to especially during conflict since he is more at ease taking on the conflicts. Both he and I are analytical and organized yet are different in how we do both. Opposites can make life most interesting as each use their strengths to complete each other. Opposites however that become extreme can also alienate their opposite by then taking their strength to an extreme, attempting to force the other to be outside of their own personality, and then ridiculing the opposite for the very strength that drew each together.
The cute Sanguine becomes a nuisance when he/she talks and forgets, and is impulsive throughout their way through life, throwing caution to the wind. When a Melancholy is wrestling with the need for perfection then the Sanguine would pose a difficult personality. The Sanguine may not comprehend the level of stress and or depression and think that the Melancholy just needs to lighten up. The Phlegmatic may so adapt that they lose oneself to a strong Choleric who is more than willing to be over controlling and who can be unsympathetic. Strengths turn into overly obsessive or compulsive behaviors and emotions become out of balance with fear and anger taking charge with each of these personalities thus causing friction. In addition, when you toss in thought distortions and problems with communication, the two, who were drawn together due to those wonderful opposites, then quickly find themselves pushing each other away. Opposites attract and repel.
Each personality is an awesome personality yet can become toxic and each is not complete alone since several aspects are absent from the comfort level.
Marital or couple problems? Seek a counselor who can administer the Myer-Briggs Assessment of Personality to learn who you are and who they are, and then learn about boundaries and cognitive distortions. With these insights then you can find a place of balance where opposites attract once again which aligns with how we were created.