Making DiSC Work in Relationships

Our marriage of 43+ years is a D/C mix.  It is a wonder.

A wonder that we were attracted to one another in the first place.
A wonder that we stuck together.
A wonder that we made it through some of the challenges.
A wonder that we have a family that enjoys one another.
A wonder that now the two of us are harmonious and relatively unstressed and thoroughly enjoying together.

DD wedding photo

Understanding our DiSC styles has been the second most impactful piece of all this.

At a DiSC training when we had been married for about 15 years, the instructor had a “compatibility chart” for the styles.  D/C is the worst of the worst in both Social and Work relationships.  Dave and I are a D/C mix and the news that we were in trouble was not startling to us. We both knew it.

D’s are fast paced and task oriented….”Let’s start and see what happens!”

C’s are slow paced and task oriented.…”Let’s wait until we have all the information and all the resources and all the contingencies and all the money we might need before we take a step!”

We looked at each other as the light bulbs went off in our heads.  This explained a lot!

He thought……“She doesn’t do these things just to annoy me….she is made that way!”
I thought……… “He doesn’t mean to make me feel stupid….he is made that way!”

There was a new connection at that moment.  We saw that if we would respect one another’s strengths, we could do great things together.

Here is one example of how understanding our differences has helped us come together.

He likes to fix things.  I like to make things work.

When we bought a 40-acre abandoned boarding school, we learned to think through problems (and, we had a lot of them).  When the tractor (that came with the property) threw a rod (because a former owner “D” had by-passed the radiator for a quick mowing job), we needed to bite the bullet and pay for a complete overhaul.–to FIX IT.  BUT, when the garden hose we found sprung leaks (many), grey tape was fine for a quick solution until we were in town to pick up a new one. We MADE IT WORK.

There are times when I slow down.  There are times when he speeds up.  There are times when he reminds me that details and plans are important.  There are times he enjoys my spontaneity or tolerates my risky moves.

I have learned not to try to compete with him.  He graciously lets me win occasionally.  We both happily give each other room and time and space to do our own things. We have learned to find things we enjoy together.



As a result of learning our different styles and intentionally finding ways to enjoy the differences, this thirdthird of ours is very rewarding.  We are involved in activities we enjoy.  We are investing in issues we consider to be important. We read and walk and travel and eat and generally enjoy one another’s company deeply……even though we are not a “compatible match” on a chart.

Any mix of behavior styles can learn to get along and to be productive.  Finding/making good relationships is not about “compatibility.”  It is about understanding, respect, and care.

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