We often struggle with the question of “who am I?“.

In a marriage there may be two of you asking this question.

If we don’t know the answer, the marriage may end up in shambles as most of the minor problems, called misunderstandings, develop into major problems and damage the foundation of the relationship.

We don’t always want to know the brutal truth and for that reason there are so many dysfunctional families and families made up of dysfunctional individuals and broken people that it is unlikely that they could provide a healthy base or a healthy mirror for children to feel secure and protected.

It is important that both spouses know themselves well enough to understand how they should interact with one another and plow as much effort into their marriage in addition to their willingness to adapt to their spouse.

Misperceptions are often the base of fatal endings of marriages.

If we know the needs, motivations, traits, interests of one another we would understand the reason for actions, decisions and behavioral patterns we encounter in the relationship.

We all live in our own “personal country”. A fairly recent personality test developed by a clinical psychologist Dr. Tim Kimmel determines in which country you live. There are four distinct countries. The Control country, the Fun country, the Perfect country and the Peace country.

If you live in the peace country and your spouse lives in the control country, you are going to have a hard time as you may need peace and quiet and your spouse may be constantly organizing things for you to do and control your life. If you live in the fun country and your spouse lives in the perfect country you might end up feeling that you never do anything right. Your fun might be spoilt.

But if we know the up and down sides of the inhabitants of each country or the character traits of the spouse’s country, we might be able to manage hassles more effectively and even enjoy the interesting differences.

Spot yourself:

My spouse lives in the Control country

Don’t ever deny the inhabitant of the Control country and what he/she needs. If you appreciate him/her, they become their very best at:

  • Being a born leader,
  • Have tons of confidence,
  • A goal setter,
  • independent,
  • moves quick at action,
  • bold

If they are denied what they need, they become their worst:

  • being bossy
  • impatient
  • quick tempered
  • demanding
  • know it all
  • arrogant

If my spouse lives in the Fun country

When Fun people feel validated and understood, they become:

  • enthusiastic
  • optimistic
  • inspirational
  • have a great sense of humor
  • love people
  • are sincere at heart

When feeling misunderstood and invalidated Fun people can become their worst:

  • talk too much
  • exaggerate
  • seem phony
  • forget responsibility
  • have no discipline
  • are easily distracted

If my spouse lives in the Perfect country

When the inhabitants from the Perfect country feel validated and understood, they become their best at being:

  • faithful
  • persistent
  • idealistic
  • creative
  • organized
  • thoughtful

Sadly they are often misunderstood, are left feeling invalidated and can become their worst:

  • moody
  • feels guilty
  • take too much time planning
  • their standards are too high
  • they become insecure around people
  • and depressed

If my spouse lives in the Peace country

When Peace people feel validated and understood, they become their best:

  • competent
  • consistent
  • witty
  • patient
  • peaceful
  • good listeners

When feeling misunderstood and invalidated, Peace people can become their worst:

  • fearful and worried
  • can’t make decisions
  • too shy
  • little self motivation
  • resent being pushed
  • resist change

If you don’t understand or know your spouse, you may come to wrong conclusions for instance: Your darling competent, consistent, witty, patient, peaceful husband living in the Peace country does not get the promotion he was certain he would get, suddenly becomes withdrawn, lacks motivation, is indecisive, fearful and worried, don’t judge him!

The importance of understanding the basic motivations cannot be understated. Without insight, people tend to judge, criticize and condemn one another.

It is important that we start to accept differences between the countries, as all of us wonder between the different countries. I might be an inhabitant of the control/perfect country, which will make me a strong willed person; or an inhabitant of the perfect/fun country which may make me a good entertainer; or a control/peace country which will make me a good manager; or an inhabitant of the fun/peace country, which will make me a lovable person.

The aim of a marriage counselor should be to help spouses to understand the different motivations in each country, the upside and downside of each country and to plot yourself in a country. Understand what the motivation is of the spouse to act the way he or she acts and what will trigger him/her to bounce back to how he/she normally acts like.

Don’t treat the spouse as if he/she is from a foreign country. Respect the different cultures!

Dr Tim Kimmel’s personality test may help to plot you and your spouse in a specific country.

Dr Annemie Peché   0823356133