Mission: Compatibility

Are you having trouble building good relationships? Could your attitude be the problem? We’re going to talk about relationships this month. There appear to be three basic character types: the Dominant, the Childish, and the Adult.

Dominant Character Type

The Dominant person has to have their own way, and usually at any cost. They are bullies who can resort to aggression, throwing and breaking things, violence, control, emotional and physical abuse, and manipulation. They may be in trouble with the law or fired from their jobs because of their inability to submit themselves to authority. However, if they are the boss, they can be tyrants.

The Dominator is intimidating, a dictator, selfish, and “always right.” Their saying is, “It’s my way or the highway,” or “I’m the king of my castle.” The Dominant person makes demands on those around them. They want to dominate everyone or every situation. The Dominator will also make threats and is willing to follow through with them. They will have their own way, one way or another. The Dominant person has power, and they will not hesitate to use it to control and manipulate other people.

Proverbs 14:17 “A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated.”

Childish Character Type

The Childish personality will pout, scream, cry, throw temper tantrums, slam doors, manipulate others, or give the silent treatment if they don’t get their own way. They are very dependent and resent being that way. Childish people are selfish and always think they’re right. They are not trustworthy and are unreasonable.

The Childish person is passive-aggressive. We have all known people like this. They are nice to your face but will not hesitate to attack you behind your back. Most Childish people will gossip to make themselves look better, since they tend to suffer from low self-esteem.

Have you noticed that the Dominant and the Childish people are very much alike? The main difference between the Dominant and Childish behaviors is that the Childish one has NO power.

Proverbs 10:18 “He who conceals hatred has lying lips; and he who spreads slander is a fool.”

Adult Character Type

The person who conducts themselves as an Adult will be willing to negotiate and speak calmly. They are assertive but not aggressive. They are kind and respectful of others’ opinions and feelings. The Adult is trustworthy, rational, and reasonable. They are also cooperative and great team players.

The Adult has the power to make the major decisions about their life. However, they believe in shared power. The Adult feels everyone should get their way some of the time. In other words, “sometimes we’ll do it your way and sometimes we’ll do it my way.” Adults are very cooperative and friendly. They are not manipulators like the Dominators and Childish.

Proverbs 3:3-4 “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.”

Relationship Problem #1 – Dominant vs. Dominant

What happens whenever a Dominant person marries another Dominant one? They obviously aren’t going to have a happy marriage. Why? Because they will both have to be “right,” which will lead to screaming, yelling, and abuse. They will be in a constant struggle to be the one in charge since both of them want to have power over the other person. Both of them will be manipulating the other person in order to gain control.

Relationship Problem #2 – Childish vs. Childish

What if a Childish person marries another childish type? As with the two Dominant personalities, they will also scream and yell at each other. They may slug it out, scratch each other, or pull each other’s hair. Childish people will give each other the silent treatment for days and even weeks if they can’t have their own way. They can’t be trusted, so they won’t be able to trust the other person. The Childish type will slam doors and break things that are important to the other person. They enjoy hurting the other person’s feelings because it makes them feel powerful, even though they have no power. The Childish person is not responsible or reliable.

Relationship Problem #3 – Dominant vs. Childish

What happens if a Dominant person marries a Childish type? The dominant one is extremely happy! Why? Because they always get their own way since they have the power and the Childish one has NO power! The Childish person is their servant and they are the master.

The Childish person will sulk, pout, slam doors, or may break things. In this relationship, there would be yelling and abusive behavior, including emotional, physical, or verbal. The Childish type may find it difficult to leave this abusive relationship because they are so dependent upon their Dominator. The Childish person is absorbed into the Dominator’s identity, thus losing their own personal identity.

Relationship Problem #4 – Adult vs. Childish

What happens when an Adult type marries a Childish type? There will be a constant struggle, because the Adult will be forced to become the parent of the irresponsible and untrustworthy Childish person. It will be a parent/child relationship. While the Adult attempts to be rational and negotiate, the Childish person will give them the silent treatment or pout, cry, whine, stomp, or slam doors.

The Adult has to assume the dominant role, while not becoming abusive. Children can be unreasonable and irrational at times. Just think of how a 2- or 3-year-old child acts whenever they don’t get their own way. It’s rather ridiculous to think about a grown person acting that way, isn’t it?

Girls, do you want to be married to a childish guy who sulks, pouts, or throws a temper tantrum when he doesn’t get his way? Some Childish guys will even threaten suicide if a girl attempts to break up with him, which is manipulation. What about the guy you can’t trust to always be faithful to you? What if he is irresponsible with his work ethic? A woman with the Adult behavior can never have a happy marriage with a Childish man.

Relationship Problem #5 – Adult vs. Dominant

When an Adult type marries a Dominant one, something very different happens! If the Adult type remains an Adult, the Dominant person LOSES their POWER! Remember how the Adult person is assertive but not aggressive? They will stand up for themselves in a firm but kind way. The Adult will have power, and since the Dominant person loses it, they will revert to the Childish behavior, which then becomes an entirely different situation!

Again, did you notice the similarities between the Dominant and Childish personalities? The only real difference is that the Dominant had power and the Childish did not. This previously-Dominant person who marries an Adult will now throw temper tantrums or pout and whine to get his way, just like the Childish type would do.

Girls, do you want to marry a man who will threaten to harm you and attempt to intimidate you? A dominant guy will have no respect for you and will use you to get what he wants. Dominant guys will “put you down” and belittle you in front of other people. If you marry a man like this, you should prepare yourself to be his servant as long as you are married. This Dominant man will always try to keep you in the Childish role so he can completely control you.

Relationship #6 – Adult with Adult

If two Adult-type behaviors marry, they should have a very good marriage. They both are team players, and in a marriage you are a team. You work together for the common good of your relationship and household. The two Adults will be willing to compromise. What is right matters more than who is right.

These two married Adults will negotiate to reach an agreement. They will be calm and rational and their life together will be relaxed and peaceful, even in the event of hardships. Adults respect each others’ feelings and opinions and they don’t purposely try to hurt one another emotionally. They can trust each other in all things. Married Adults don’t keep secrets from each other. They share equally in chores, in decision making, and in their thoughts and feelings. Their lives are full of love and respect for one another.

Girls, do you want to be married to a man who loves you more than himself, respects and values you, is trustworthy, responsible, and doesn’t attempt to manipulate you? Rather, he encourages you to grow as an adult Christian woman?

Proverbs 31:10-11 “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.”

Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”

Let’s Talk About You!

What type of behavior do you want to have? I think we all want to be Adult-like, don’t we? Having the knowledge of these three behavior types is critical in your dating relationships, because who we date is who we will end up marrying! My favorite saying is, “Date only those whom you would consider marrying.” I have personally known many women who totally ruined their lives by dating the wrong type of man.

If a guy is going to have Dominant or Childish behavior traits before you get married, he will NOT change! You cannot expect to be able to change him. You might persuade him to change some of his actions or behaviors for a short time, but you will not be able to change his values, morals, and character. Many unhappily married or divorced Christian women have come to that realization…too late! Please understand that! He will NOT change!

A person’s character does not change! Matthew 7:17 says, “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.” Verse 18 continues, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” He can change his behaviors and actions for a short time just to fool you, but his underlying character will rarely change!

People with good morals are usually those who decide to become Christians. However, when an immoral person decides to become a Christian, they can make radical changes in their values and character to conform to the image of Christ. However, this is extremely rare. This depth of character change comes from deep within his heart. It will not happen if someone attempts to force him to change.

His decision to become a Christian must be just that–HIS decision. When dating, it is very difficult to discern if his intentions are pure and he desires to please God, or if he just wants to please you. Please understand you also are not responsible for someone’s salvation. Philippians 2:12 says, “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” You must live your life as God commands you to do. You can set a good example for others, but it is ultimately up to them to totally change their lives to serve God. You must not feel responsible for them.

Which husband would you want to have? A man that says, “I will act like the very best husband you could ever want,” or a man that says, “I will be the very best husband you could ever want?” I opt for the latter one! Who wants to marry a pretender?

Dating: Preparation for Marriage

One great thing to do, even before you start to date, is to make a list of all the non-negotiable qualities that you want in a husband someday. Be specific and don’t compromise! I made a list that consisted of 22 items. I was very choosy! Do you know that my husband has every one of those qualities? He is a faithful Christian, he has integrity, he has a good, clean sense of humor, he is good with his finances, is sensitive, caring, and kind.

I could go on with my list, but I want you to decide all the qualities that are important to you! Don’t overlook attractiveness either. If that is important to you, then write it down! You are going to have to live with that same man for the rest of your life, and if he’s not what you desire, then don’t choose him! The everyday stresses of life make those negative traits come out more prominently.

If you are in a negative relationship, there will be warning signs before you ever enter into marriage. Does your boyfriend belittle you in front of your friends or family? Does he lie to you or tell you stories that just don’t make sense or fit together with other things he says? Do you suspect unfaithfulness? Does he make you feel inadequate? Does he attempt to alienate you from your family that loves and cares for you?

Is he aggressive? Are you sometimes afraid of him? Girls, it never gets better! Contrary to popular opinion of some women, you cannot change him! Not until it’s too late do many women realize that. You cannot change the character of someone!

If you are in that type of negative relationship, GET OUT NOW! Marriage is binding, and for life—that is what God intended. Marriage is not to be taken lightly. That is why it is so important before you are married to choose a mate who serves God and who is compatible. Once we marry, we are commanded by God to remain married to him unless we are divorcing him due to his unfaithfulness. Matthew 5:32: “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery….”

Save yourself the pain of a failed marriage, girls. The Bible warns us not to be unequally yoked together. In II Corinthians 6:14 we are told, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” God, in all His wisdom, knows the heartache that will come from that. As Christian women, God wants us to only marry faithful Christian men.

Talk, talk, talk before you get married! Make certain that what is important to you is also important to him! Girls, since the guy you are dating may someday be your husband, find out what things are the most important to him. If you have too many things that aren’t compatible, then please don’t marry him. You deserve to be happy and contented for the rest of your life—it’s what God wants for you! Don’t settle for less than you deserve!

Mr. Right is out there somewhere for you. Be patient. Don’t rush. Don’t compromise. Just remember to be yourself. You have to know who you are to attract the right mate. Acting like an Adult and choosing to marry a man with Adult behavior, who, most importantly, puts God first, is the best way to ensure that you will have a happy marriage together!

By: Carol Gartman

Please read our July Family column for information on how this type of relationship affects our relationships with our family and friends!


  1. Peter Quinn says

    Hi. I am a long time reader. I wanted to say that I like your blog and the layout.

    Peter Quinn

  2. I like the pictures in your article!

  3. Carol, that was a fantastic article!!!!!! This magazine is so blessed to have you on board!! It caused me to think and consider many things and I am so impressed and hope to share it with many of my friends!

  4. How can you control a childish wife?

  5. A husband’s job is to love, not control, his wife.

    Your full response has been e-mailed to you. The response will also appear in our “Ask A Guy” column in August.

    Before that article appears online, I encourage others who have similar questions to thoroughly read the above article, and to read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a and Ephesians 5:25-27.

  6. I am blessed

  7. How do you love a childish wife?

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