A Tale of Two Temperaments

A Tale of Two Temperaments

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(Please note – this story is fictional. It’s just an example of the many ways temperament therapy can help you in your life and relationships.)

Mike and Lisa came in for marriage counseling. They reported frequent fighting and found it almost impossible to communicate with each other. Lisa felt lonely in the marriage. Mike felt drained. They were both wondering if it would be better to end it and go their separate ways.

A few basic questions revealed that Mike was 35 and had a job in sales. Lisa was 34 and a stay at home mom to their 2 preschoolers. The first thing we did was administer APS (temperament) tests to both of them.

Before we start talking about the results of their APS tests, we need to go over a few basics. When we’re talking about temperament, we’re talking about the qualities that God created in you – things like how much social contact you want, how much control you need to have, and how many deep, personal relationships you require. We are NOT talking about personality or behavior. Environment and life experiences affect your behavior, so you may or may not be acting in a way that reflects the temperament God gave you. It is impossible to accurately assess temperament without an APS test. Most temperament therapists agree that if you guess, you will probably guess wrong.

There are 5 temperament types – melancholy, sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic, and supine – and 3 areas – inclusion, control, and affection. Many people are blends of the 5 types and are different types in each area. That adds up to a multitude of possible combinations.

When we look at Mike’s and Lisa’s APS tests, we find that Mike is melancholy in inclusion, supine in control, and phlegmatic in affection. Lisa is sanguine in inclusion, choleric in control, and sanguine in affection.

So what does all that mean? How can knowing this help Mike and Lisa with their marriage?

We’ll start talking about that next time …

Cindy grew up in rural NY and Ohio. She spent almost 30 years as an RN in a major children’s hospital before God called her to change direction and pursue a degree in Christian counseling. She is a Certified Temperament Counselor and Certified Pastoral Counselor.

Cindy home-schooled her five children, all adults now, and currently lives on a farm in West Tennessee.


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