The Beauty of Opposites

by Lynn Eib

 Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11 NLT

My husband of nearly 46 years and I are pretty much exact opposites in personality. I’m a task-oriented extrovert and my mate is a people-oriented introvert. He’s easy-going and I have to plan to be spontaneous. If you are familiar with the Myers-Briggs type indicator, I’m an ESTJ and he’s an INFP. Even if you’re not acquainted with the traits for which those 10 letters stand, you can clearly see none of them matches up![1]

In the Gary Smalley Personality Types Inventory, I’m described as a lion-beaver and he’s a golden retriever-otter. A lion’s rallying roar is “Let’s get it done!” while an otter delightfully squeals, “Don’t worry, it will all work out!” [2]

And what I’ve learned from all this alphabet soup and animal labels is that sometimes my hubby needs to tighten up and sometimes I need to lighten up.

As you face life’s tough challenges—health, marriage, finances, job or anything else—no doubt you, too, have seen that your family and friends have diverse personalities and coping styles.

From my observations as a patient advocate ministering to cancer patients and their families for more than 25 years, I can tell you that folks normally cope with life after a cancer diagnosis the same way they coped with life before cancer. The talkers keep chatting, and the quiet ones stay mum. The feelers continue to emote, and the thinkers keep on rationalizing. The people-oriented surround themselves with folks to spur them on, and the task-oriented gather facts to try and problem-solve.

And guess what? That’s okay…because we need each other.

We need an arsenal of abilities and strengths to face life’s trials, and each person in your inner circle of loved ones brings something different to the table. You will be far better equipped if you can appreciate the differences instead of allowing them to annoy or even divide you.

“Don’t tear down another person with your words. Instead, keep the peace, and be considerate. Be truly humble toward everyone…” Titus 3:2 (The Voice Bible)

Our Creator designed us to need each other and to offer one another our talents, our gifts, our insights, and our special brand of encouragement. Please don’t let those differences become a wedge in your relationships. One of the primary ways Satan has to discourage families and friends facing tough times is to get us at odds with one another. Don’t let that deceiver win.

“Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!…Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone” (Romans 12:16, 18 NLT).

Years ago I heard husband-and-wife authors Gordon and Gail MacDonald explain that their very different personalities have greatly helped each of them to “hear the full counsel of God.”

I certainly know there have been many times that my very-different-from-me husband has aided me in hearing more clearly from God.

You want…and need…people with personalities different from yours to help you hear from God and find His peace no matter what you face. Thank Him today for family and friends who are not exactly like you, but can help you feel and know that the God of love and peace will be with you.

[1] For more info about the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator personality inventory, go to

[2] To take the free animal personality test, go to

The Beauty of Opposites – insight from Lynn Eib on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

lynn eib2About the author: Lynn Eib is a long-time cancer survivor, a patient advocate, and an award-winning journalist. She has six titles with Tyndale House Publishing, including When God & Cancer Meet with 100,000+ copies sold. Her website provides a bi-weekly blog of encouragement; tips for founding, facilitating and finding faith-based support groups; and free resources for cancer patient and their caregivers.

In Lynn’s beautiful, giftable book, Peace in the Face of Cancer, she shares how to live well from the moment of diagnosis through the rest of life. You’ll discover how to bring God’s peace into your own home and heart―regardless of your or your loved one’s medical prognosis.

Join the conversation: Do you have a family member whose personality traits are opposite of yours? How has that worked for your relationship?

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