Building a Strengths-Based Marriage

Joy and I have known each other since we were in high school. But believe me, that’s no guarantee that we would understand everything that the other thinks or feels! 

Many times I would talk about a new project I want to start. And if you knew me personally, you know that I talk just as though I could see everything clearly right in front of me. I’m very good at getting people around me excited about all these new prospects. So Joy, in her eagerness to help me get that new project started, would grapple to put those plans into execution, perhaps tapping a few people along the way.

It all starts off with a bang, with everyone fueled by my own enthusiasm. Soon, though, she ends up with all the work on her lap—because I’ve then set my sights onto another new project, leaving her to complete the pieces of the unfinished task! 

And that always caused a lot of conflict between us.

My Strengths: Boon or Bane?

It was only when we went through the CliftonStrengths assessment that we started to understand why this would happen over and over again. 

One of the things we discovered was that my top 5 strengths include Activator and Futuristic. As an Activator, I’m good at supplying the energy that my team needs to get every project off the ground. Sounds good, right? The problem is, this same strength also means that I have the tendency to start new projects at a whim! 

Then, my being Futuristic means that I’m good at bringing people to achieve a shared vision together—except that it can also mean that I can chase after fantasies and not anchor our goals on concrete outcomes! 

Do you see how these play into a possible misunderstanding between Joy and me? The good news is that, ever since we learned about how our different strengths work, it helped us understand each other a little better.

What is the CliftonStrengths?

Donald Clifton is an educational psychologist who spearheaded the creation of the CliftonStrengths assessment. The goal was to identify the skills that the best of the best have, and to maximize them. 

Whereas many business gurus teach us to work on our weaknesses to improve, the premise of Strengths is to identify our talents and to capitalize on them, building on the foundation of positive psychology. 

Gallup developed the CliftonStrengths as an objective way of measuring personal talent, in a quiz that could be answered online in less than one hour. This revolutionary tool entered the world stage when the book, Now Discover Your Strengths, was published in 2001 and hit the bestseller charts. 

Later, the book evolved into the updated StrengthsFinder 2.0, launched in 2007 and continuing to be one of the hottest items among Amazon’s collection of books.

What does the StrengthsFinder Measure?

The assessment helps you discover the areas where you have the greatest potential for strength, by identifying recurring thought patterns, behavioral habits, and tendencies for feeling. This information serves as a starting point, and from there, Strengths coaches can help you and your partner leverage these talents and transform them into long-term strengths.  

How does the assessment work? First, it uses 177 pairs of self-descriptors, placed as though they were on opposite ends of a spectrum. You will have to choose which of the pair of descriptors best describes you, as well as how much it describes your personality. Upon completing the test, you will receive your top 5 signature themes, ranked in order.

Why do strengths matter in marriage?

In a world where people are obsessed with fixing our weaknesses, the CliftonStrengths assessment challenges you to focus on what is strong and right about you and your partner. This means that we are able to build strong people with strong marriages, with each individual bringing their unique strengths into the relationship and making significant impact. 

Instead of pointing out each others’ flaws, we become empowered to celebrate our partner’s successes and talents. This forms a good foundation for appreciation and affirmation, paving the way for healthier communication within the marriage. 

Doesn’t that sound like something that would help you and your partner grow in your intimacy and mission together? 

Joy and I are Gallup-Certified CliftonStrengths Coaches that can help you and your spouse build a Strengths-based marriage. Get in touch today for a free sessions to see how we can journey with you. 

CliftonStrengths challenges you to focus on what is strong and right about you and your partner so each individual can bring their unique strengths into the relationship and make significant impact.
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