He was so strong, straightforward, and controlling. She was so sensitive, passive, and wounded. They came to my coaching office as a last-ditch effort to save their marriage while they were separated.
In the past, I would have tried to fix their weaknesses. Now I immediately spotted their strengths. What if they could have a language to call their talent themes? What if they could both embrace the value of each other’s strengths? What if they both could begin to leverage each other’s strengths in their love relationship?
Sure enough, my hunch was confirmed. After taking the StrengthsFinder assessment and coming to the next session his #1 talent theme was command and her #1 talent theme empathy. Command is defined as having a presence, being direct, and exerting control in situations that seem out of control. Empathy is defined as being sensitive to others’ feelings and bringing emotional intelligence.
I showed them my Strenghtometer analogy how 1-40 MPH is coasting (underusing a talent), 41-80 MPH is cruising (appropriately using a talent) and 81-120 MPH is speeding or (overusing a talent to a detriment). How could they both drive their talent themes appropriately with each other, their blended family, in each situation?
That was the work in the next three coaching sessions.
As an intentional way of softening his commanding presence, he shaved off his duck dynasty beard he had grown for years as a surprise for her in the next coaching session. She had never seen him without his beard. You could feel the tender energy in the room when she gently placed her hands on his cleanly-shaven face for the first time. This act of empathetic affection drew them closer in love and emotional intimacy.
The journey of leveraging their strengths to being a great spouse was now starting to cruise.
My StrengthsFinder mentor, Curt Liesveld wrote “How to Aim your Talent Themes at Being a Great Spouse” for all 34 StrengthsFinder talent themes.
Command – I could use this theme to fight for my marriage by confronting external threats and by dealing directly with internal pressures.
Empathy – I show my love to my spouse by sensing their emotions, accepting and valuing their emotions, and encouraging their expression.
What talents are you and your spouse speeding with?
Are you aiming your strengths at being a great spouse?
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