How CliftonStrengths Helped My Marriage

How CliftonStrengths Helped My Marriage

My husband and I have been together for over 13  years. After both coming off prior marriages, we thought this time we should be able to get a marriage right.

Recently, we survived (and even thrived) building a successful business together. We were in love, making a good living, and even having FUN with each other. Not only were we beating the odds of a second marriage failing, we also fought against the problems that can occur when couples work together. It wasn’t easy and we sought out help from marriage advisors when we got stuck on something, but our HUGE shift forward wasn’t made until we shared our CliftonStrengths Assessments with each other. CliftonStrengths helped us make sense of it all.

“My husband is a workaholic.”

When our growing business started to level out and we had an opportunity to relax more, my husband would fill up his free time with more work. I didn’t understand why he did this and wrongly complained that he worked WAY too much. It wasn’t until I discovered that one of his strongest talent themes was Achiever, did I understand this was one of his biggest superpowers. Who wouldn’t want to have a business partner who had more energy than most of the company members combined?  (Yes, I have said “sorry” for that comment many times over. It also turns out he really knows how to PLAY hard, too, which is a lot of fun now that we have sold our local moving business for a sweet profit.)

CliftonStrengths translation: My husband’s number #2 talent theme is ACHIEVER.

“My wife has trouble finishing projects that she has started.”

Yup. That’s me. My strong Ideation paired with the Activator talent theme makes it very easy to spend the day coming up with a new project and getting REALLY excited about it. I used to get down on myself for my scattered unfinished projects until I finally realized that my Ideation was “turned up” way too high. Once I got it under control, the projects started to get finished. My husband now has a great appreciation for my ability to add creative spice into our lives and get things started quickly.

CliftonStrengths translation: IDEATION is my number #2 talent theme paired with number #4 ACTIVATOR.

“My husband hates to be told what to do.”

It didn’t take me long to find out that in order to get my husband to do something my way, I needed to turn it into a “suggestion” and be prepared for him to say no. It turns out that most times he agrees with me when I do that, verses when I try to command the same results. Growing up with a learning disability where he heard he “couldn’t” do certain things probably strengthened his Self-Assurance talent theme, and I now have learned to value the confidence he has in himself when making decisions.

CliftonStrengths translation: My husband’s number #5 talent theme is SELF-ASSURANCE.

“My wife spends a lot of money on books and courses.”

Yes, again. With a strong number #3 talent theme, Learner, I crave exposing myself to new information and theories. This talent could easily become an out-of-control addiction, so I temper it by making sure I get an hour a day of learning to satisfy me. My husband now understands how important this is to me and values my vast quantity of handy skills I have acquired from my time well spent learning. 

CliftonStrengths translation: LEARNER is my number #3 talent theme.

“My husband and I grew our local moving business to a million-dollar company in two years without funding.”

It is often said that people should work smarter, not harder. Well, what if you did both? Both my husband and I have incredibly strong Strategic talent themes. When problems show up (which do on a daily basis), we are able to find a way around them with ease. One day, the greatest display of our joint Strategic talents went like this: A lady driving a car ran a red light and slammed into our moving truck in Virginia. Within three hours, my husband went and was released from the hospital, I helped secure and pick up a rental truck, we loaded the contents of one truck (which was now inconveniently parked in a gravel tow yard) into the rental truck, and we were back on the road heading to New York City for a delivery. We made it happen, and even had time to celebrate my husband’s birthday with a nice Italian dinner and big high fives for US!

CliftonStrengths translation: Both my husband and I have STRATEGIC as our number #1 talent theme.

The moral of this story is our talents are here to serve us AND our spouses. I have found when partners share their GallupStrengths reports with each other, some loving moments occur that are surprising and set the relationship in a slightly new direction. What used to feel like differences are now complimentary superpowers. I strongly encourage you to share your CliftonStrengths Assessment with your partner and family.

PHOTO CREDIT: istockphoto/cokapoka


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