Contribution of personality differences in marital conflict
Ngunyi, Paul K
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Human behavior is to a large extent influenced by individuals Personality. Choleric personality for instance is likely to respond to situations with assertiveness and aggression, while Phlegmatic personality is likely to respond to same situation with calm and grace. To a Choleric, calm and graceful Phlegmatic may be seen as lazy or lacking in interest and passion. On the other hand, Choleric assertiveness and aggressiveness may seem to a Phlegmatic as arrogance and disrespect. Same variations would apply to the buoyant Sanguine and the analytical Melancholic. These personality differences make people see and interpret situations differently. When different personalities play in daily interactions of life, people may conflict or get along well. This applies to marriage relationships where spouses can either get along well or conflict depending on compatibility or incompatibility of their personalities. This study tests the extent to which personality differences contribute to marital conflict. In this study, data was collected from 216 respondents both in working and troubled marriages. The questionnaire tested respondent's perceived personality and that of their spouses. Perceived marriage quality was also tested. Analysis on perceived personality differences and perceived marriage quality was then used to measure the relationship between personality variations and quality of marriage. Data was collected from a church congregation in Eastland, Nairobi. The study findings indicate that personality variations indeed impact the quality of marriage relationships. The more the spouses differ in personality and values, the higher the possibility of conflicts in day to day living. The similar the personality traits between spouses, the more harmonious the relationship is likely to be and the marriage quality therefore. While similarity of personality between spouses may not necessarily guarantee good quality of marriage; due consideration to personality compatibility by partners before marriage commitment should be emphasized.