Early on in our marriage, my husband and I learned how to leverage our strengths as a couple. Several years later, I came to discover Strengths through Strengths Finder and was able to better understand myself, my husband, and why we work so well together as a couple. In our own marriage, we had already put into practice some things that we later came to understand from Strengths Finder. Strengths Finder is based on 34 Strengths themes that create a common language of talents. Knowledge, skills, and practice are significant in the Strengths equation, according to Tom Rath's book Strengths Finder 2.0.
Our Strengths give us self-awareness and help us understand others. Discovering this early in our relationship helps us focus our energy on what we do best and how we can bring that into the dynamics of our marriage.
For instance, my husband and I both have the Achiever and Maximizer Strengths themes. As
Achievers, we are driven to be very productive and when combined with our Maximizer Strength, it pushes us to bring it to the next level of excellence. On the one hand, we are better able to understand why we are both driven and we push our limits, until our bodies say “stop already.” Like the Energizer bunny, or the military commercial, “We do more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day.”
Our Strengths also help us to divide and conquer. It can help us predetermine our responsibilities by understanding our likes and dislikes. I’m good at and love scheduling our friend dates, whether it’s going out or having friends over. I’m the friend connector. My husband is great at analyzing. He is great with numbers and does our budget. That is not my strong suit.
At church, I loved coordinating events. Whenever I’d coordinate our children’s camp, for instance, I’d ask my husband if I forgot anyone. I’d feel awful if I ever made a people mistake by accident. He has the Strength of Includer as his number one theme. He is always great at asking if I included x, y, and z. I love that about him!
Couples have asked me if there are certain Strengths that you need in a relationship as a couple. I tell them that to know yourself and to know your spouse helps you to create an environment where you understand each other better. This helps you be more successful as a couple, more engaged, and improves conflict resolution.
As iron sharpens iron, so a husband and wife sharpen each other!