Conflicts are natural in relationships, but it is important that married couples recognize conflict and the personality types that put a marriage at risk.
First, understand that in every relationship there are two specific roles to be played. According to Pastor Wilson, a local Marriage and Family expert, the first role is that of the pursuer, who is the agenda setter and the initiator. The second role is that of the distancer, who responds to the agenda set by the pursuer.
"A couple will two-step in these roles based upon their personality type. The role that each one plays is unique to that relationship, meaning that they could play different roles in another relationship," Pastor Wilson states.
Pursuers and distancers can fall into four marital personality types. Referencing a world renown marriage expert and best-selling author, Pastor Wilson identified four marital personality types that breed conflict and can ultimately lead to divorce:
- The Pleaser has a "we" philosophy and abides by all rules, even when the rules need adjusting.
- The One-upper utilizes the tools of persuasion in an argument to convince the other that he/she is right, exercising no empathy for his/her partner's perspective.
- The Avoider is in denial about issues, and if he/she addresses these issues, it is only on the surface.
- The Catastrophizer brings the drama and escalates issues. He/she blames the other for his/her negative feelings and behaviors.
With any of these types, when one person starts to become weary of the situation, for example, "the catastrophizer" who has debated the final issue with "the one-upper," the conflict slope has accelerated, transporting the couple to face the possibility of dissolving the marriage.
Pastor Wilson encourages couples to deal with and embrace their differences through an attitude of commitment and respectful communication.