We're driving in the car on the way to church and I want to scream. The silence in the front of the van is so stressful that it's making me sweat. I can't stand it any longer. "Why isn't he talking?" I wonder to myself. "What's the matter with me? Plenty of people want to talk to me. Is it because we're going to church? Is he tired? He must notice I'm looking at him but still he's not saying a n y t h i n g"... This and many more things go through my head as one word answers resolve my questions. For eleven years I have wondered why my husband has so little to say to me at times. For eleven years of our marriage I have gotten silently, and sometimes not so silently, upset with him over his lack of conversational enthusiasm. Until now.
I just finished reading The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse by Art and Laraine Bennett and I had a major a-ha moment. I mean it was a moment when I out loud said, "A HA!" and quickly called to my husband to tell him all about it. It really wasn't all about me after all- it's just the way of his temperament. I've read all about these temperaments before. The authors of this book are no strangers to the subject. They've written on the subject before only this time it pertains to our beloved spouses.
My husband is the classic phlegmatic- easy going, never judgemental, a peacekeeper- not one to stir up the pot. He's happy at home. Comfortable with casual. Very bright and confident but not cocky. And he's always been one to secretly slip out and start the car for me on frozen mornings, give up the last egg for breakfast without saying so, and getting up in the night to sleep on the couch when a diaper-bottomed visitor arrived. He's just nice- plain and simple. However, he's quietly nice. Once in college I attacked him for standing in the corner of the kitchen at a party instead of being the "it" guy. He looked at me like I was crazy. It took me so long to get a grasp on not changing my husband to suit my social needs. The Temperaments God Gave Your Spouse has completely opened my eyes and given me a swift kick of reality with a little guilt for my obnoxious nonacceptance all these years.
The authors claim that this book will help to improve your marriage by understanding your spouse and they are right on. I am a sanguine with heavy undertones of a melancholic and my need to socialize and have everything perfect all the time can be grueling for someone calm like a phlegmatic. This book gives us great tips for when emotions (mine) run high and on the occasions of nagging (again, mine). After reading this book I have actually apologized to my husband for my insensitivity to his make up. And I have also been able to convey to him some things with my temperament that perhaps have made him a bit mad.
Just maybe my honey will glean a little insight from my sharing this book with him, too. And the next time we're in the car for a long drive, I'll bring some of his favorite music and perhaps just hold his hand.
This book suits every single married couple I know from my own parents to my dearest friends. This review was written as part of the Catholic Book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse.