We all remember Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz repeating over and over “Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” So it was sure funny when I ran across a book by Dr. Sandra R. Scantling titled Extraordinary Sex Now: A Couple’s Guide to Intimacy in which she cleverly refers to our marital relationship in terms of Lions and Bees and Otters and Bears.
Since my last blog covered being “in the mood,” I thought I’d stay in the mood with a few comments about Dr. Scantling’s book. While the title may suggest a racy exposition on the subject of sex, I found her book was quite insightful in detailing relational styles and how they affect our intimate interactions. It is more a primer on how to understand one another than on how to do one another.
Now about Lions, Bees, Otters, and Bears… Here’s a very brief summary:
- Lions – Energizers – communicative, controlling, critical, assertive, energetic, demanding, risk takers
- Bees – Workers – practical, analytical, organized, perfectionist, precise, orderly, hardworking, planners
- Otters – Players – playful, dreamers, artistic, impulsive, disorganized, fun-loving, rebellious
- Bears – Stabilizers – cooperative, agreeable, conflict avoiders, thoughtful, stubborn, generous, nurturing
Do you see yourself and your spouse in the list? Many of us are a combination, such as a Bee/Bear or a Lion/Otter.
You can see that certain temperaments will have a challenge functioning on a day to day basis with a non-complementary temperament. Sure, a Bee can get along with a Bee because they are so well organized. And two Bears will have a wonderful time because they’ll never disagree; they’ll just go along and be happy Bears.
But what about two Lions? Who gets to make the decisions? Who gets to lead? And consider two Otters. They want to have fun, no matter what. But what happens when one wants to hike and the other wants to visit with friends all day? Who decides? Yes, the Bees already have an answer: Take the friends on the hike!! Those clever Bees!
You get the idea. Maybe we can get along with a spouse that is similar to us. But generally speaking, we tend to marry the opposite of who we are. A Lion will marry a Bee or an Otter and the sparks will fly.
Dr. Scantling’s book breaks down these complicated interactions and gives detailed suggestions on how to cope with divergent personalities. If we can learn how to get along better outside the bedroom, it will be easier inside the bedroom.
This speaks to the primary themes of Common Sense Marriage:
Personal Growth and Selfless Serving.
When we work at growing by seeking to better understand ourselves and our spouse, we can apply that understanding and become a more empathetic partner. We actually serve each other when we increase understanding. And we grow closer and desire to share that closeness in an open and intimate way.
So, who are you? Lion, Bee, Otter or Bear? Would you love to find out? Stay tuned and we’ll go exploring together.