|Great Attachment Debate Diets Mindfulness Brain Science Attachment Theory Men in Therapy Ethics Couples Therapy Community of Excellence Linda Bacon Alan Sroufe William Doherty Couples Trauma Future of Psychotherapy Clinical Excellence Clinical Mastery The Future of Psychotherapy Mary Jo Barrett CE Comments Wendy Behary David Schnarch Mind/Body Attachment Challenging Cases Gender Issues Symposium 2012 Anxiety Narcissistic Clients Etienne Wenger|
|Why Him? Why Her? - Him Her 1|
Others soon arrived, and we took our places on the folding chairs facing a small bar strewn with lilies. Last came the bride. I was stunned when I saw her—a tiny, perfectly formed, porcelain-like doll, with huge blue eyes and long auburn hair in soft ringlets wreathed in forget-me-nots. Like the mythological Helen, Suzanne had a face that could launch a thousand ships. And her vigor matched his. She was enraptured by her prince, gazing at him and grinning with uncontainable effervescence as she said "I do."
Someone played a flute. The Apache poem was read. And as the bride and groom walked down the makeshift aisle between our seats, we blew bubbles at them from the little bottles left on our chairs.
"Love hopes all things," the Bible says. I hoped for Patrick and Suzanne. But I also had a reason to be optimistic about their marriage. I knew some things about their personalities because both had taken my personality test, a series of questions I had devised to establish some basic things about a person's biological temperament. Both had told me their test results. And from these data, I was confident that Patrick's particular chemical profile would complement Suzanne's, creating a biological and psychological cocktail that would keep them captivated with each other for years.
Temperament and Love
We have many inborn tendencies. Indeed, scientists now believe some 50 percent of the variations in human personality are associated with genetic factors. We inherit much of the fabric of our mind.
But what is personality?
Psychologists define it as that distinct cluster of thoughts and feelings that color all of a person's actions.
Your personality is more than just your biology, of course. Personality is composed of two fundamentally different types of traits: those of character and those of temperament.
Your character traits stem from your experiences. Your childhood games; your parents' interests and values; how people in your community express love and hate; what relatives and friends regard as polite, dangerous or exciting; how they worship; what they sing; when they laugh; what they do to make a living and relax—these and innumerable other cultural forces combine to build your unique set of character traits.
The balance of your personality is your temperament, all of the biologically based tendencies you have inherited, traits that emerge in early childhood to produce your consistent patterns of feeling, thinking and behaving. As the Spanish philosopher JosŽ Ortega y Gasset put it, "I am, plus my circumstances." Temperament is the "I am," the foundation of who you are.
It is this part of the human spirit I had examined in Patrick and Suzanne—their biological temperament.