Talents in Marriage - Competing vs Completing

achiever belief command connectedness developer empathy force of nature input intellection marriage passionato relator strategic May 31, 2022
Karey standing on a beach at sunset

A topic we cover with many of our clients is the dynamic of colliding talents. Some talents can naturally go against the grain of how certain other talents function, often resulting in conflict. So how can we move talents that collide to complement one another?

This month I am celebrating my 40th anniversary with Karey. For over 25 years we worked on our marriage and parenting, seeking the counsel of experienced voices, going to conferences, adding communication skills, and getting professional guidance on occasion. Through our challenges and rough patches, I can honestly say we had a very good marriage for those silver years. But over the past decade adding the knowledge of our CliftonStrengths talents and CoreClarity to our perspectives and language has taken very good to even greater. 

The secret? In our early years of marriage, we were told that we could choose to compete with one another or complete one another. We have opted for the latter, and the insights of our talents, CoreDrills, and respective "Kryptonite" added to that commitment has made our journey toward oneness even richer and more fulfilling. In my 20s what I used to see as Karey's "softness" with her Empathy has over time taken the harsher edges off my Command and "clueless blueless" Force of Nature ways. I sometimes overlook or nominalize social activity, and her Relator keeps me connecting with essential friendships and family ties as well as relational bridge repair. Her Connect talents anchor my Connectedness which can come out in offbeat humor and sarcasm at the expense of others. 

What I often saw as an odd accumulation of books and magazines stacked on her side of the bed has been a resource pool of informed knowledge and wisdom, especially when her Input has had time to process things through her Intellection. Her Intellection questions and processes life in a way that makes my Belief more grounded and robust. When my Strategic and Achiever get in a Fire-Aim-Ready mode she is the gatherer of facts and insight that provides the lookout before a careless leap. 

In the tag team of parenting her Developer provided and encouraged the patient nurturing of our four kids. She easily invested the time and care that my instant results-oriented Achiever, Strategic, and Command could not always slow down to see. Her listening touch over the years helped minimize the potential relational and emotional damage I could sometimes leave in my competitive wake.

Though I feel like the greater benefactor in this journey she appreciates and taps into my talents as well. Even before we knew anything about Strengths she would access my Energizers and ask me to "do that thing I do" with a list and a plan and a place to start. When her deep feeling of Empathy and deep thinking of Intellection take her into her "Green Abyss," we take long walks to process a strategy or untie her knots, often with the spiritual component of my Belief and Connectedness bringing hope and a way forward.

Having a language around our natural talents and personal design has taken good to great as we head for the golden years. Of course, there are several other elements that go into our marriage like our faith, character, values, personalities, etc.  I have been blessed to have an amazing Passionato who truly works to complete me while committing to "completing" life together.