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Are We Compatible?

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Have you taken the Myers Briggs personality test? How does it play into relationship compatibility? In today’s blog, Mandy Fischer shares her love for personality tests and also tips on how to interpret the results.

I love taking personality tests. I’m an ESFJ for the Myers Briggs and a 3 wing 2 for the Enneagram. It’s so much fun to scroll through the websites and read about my strengths, weaknesses, what jobs I’d be good at, and how I act in relationships. Especially, when the descriptions are accurate and I think, “Woah! They really know me!” And it’s also really exciting to try and compare my personality test with others. There are some sites that assess the compatibility with another personality type, such as how an ESFJ would match with an INTP.

As exciting and relatable as these may seem, sometimes we get too caught up in how the categories describe our lives. We may think that we would only be good at jobs that are listed to match our personality type or can be in relationships with people who have compatible Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) scores. And even if the personality descriptions we receive are not completely correct, it’s a great starting point for understanding ourselves and learning how to relate to people with different personalities.

Pros of the Myers Briggs

The Myers Briggs personality test has unique insights that can be helpful as we navigate our self discovery. The tests are reflective, entertaining, and revealing of characteristics we may not have identified in ourselves yet. Or, the results affirm personality traits that we know to be true! 

Personally, I really enjoy getting to read about the results because it suggests careers that I am already considering, so it seems like confirmation that I’m on the right track. On some websites, it even provides ideas for growth and development which might be relevant in identifying dependencies and encouraging us to break away from them. In these ways, the Myers Briggs test is a fun and useful tool to learn more about yourself, but it should only be considered as a tool.

Cons of the Myers Briggs

It’s critical that we don’t depend too heavily on these scores for making important life decisions. These MBTI scores are good to be aware of, but are not meant to dictate your choices in life, such as whom you marry. . In relationships, the most important factors for a potential mate are if they are kind, love God, or are the kind of person you have fun with — not what their Myers Briggs score is. MBTI personality tests are also frowned upon by academic personality psychologists because they’re not scientifically validated. There are other tests, such as the Big 5 Personality Test, that have decades of research that support the claims, but the Myers Briggs doesn’t have psychometric training behind it. The results of MBTI tests are based only on categorizations of common traits, so you would be wise to take these results lightly. 

A great way to use the MBTI is as a conversation starter where you can dig deeper into what these letters mean. There are 16 personality types in the MBTI test, allowing you to explore what it means to be an extrovert or introvert, sensor or intuitive, thinker or feeler, or a judger or perceiver. Just remember to take them with a grain of salt. If there are aspects you feel are inaccurate, use it as an opportunity to discuss it with your partner. For example, if I began talking about MBTI scores with friends, I would comment on how I disagree with the Truity test when it says that ESFJs have a flaw of being “so focused on the here and now they miss opportunities for growth and improvement that are staring them right in the face”. This result is incorrect for me because I absolutely take initiative and take advantage of opportunities and ways I can grow and push myself. Sometimes, I even take on too many opportunities. I think it would be valuable to communicate this distinction so that others wouldn’t assume I’m passive or blind to opportunity. You aren’t defined by your Myers Briggs score, and you shouldn’t allow it to define your view of yourself or determine what you do with your life. 

Is it OK for a Christian to Use Personality Tests?

God has gifted each of us with a unique personality! We can seek to understand this gift through God’s specific revelation from scriptures, while it also gives us general revelation to explore God’s wisdom that is available to everyone. In general revelation, we can learn from psychology and communication theory, and discover more about ourselves using what God has revealed to us. But we must be discerning. If the test doesn’t square with scripture, we should be careful with it. As we use these personality tests, we should remember our true identities are found in Christ and that we are forgiven, loved, and valued in the eyes of God. Taking a personality can’t tell us our ultimate meaning or purpose in life, only God can. I think at times it can become a flaw when I try to take control and predict what will happen in my life, rather than turning to God and asking Him what He wants me to do or how I can serve His purpose. One of my favorite verses is Romans 8:28, which declares, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We don’t have to turn to external sources for validation.

Patterns, Not Predictions

One of the most important things about the Myers Briggs is that it reveals patterns, highlighting our behavioral tendencies. According to Dr. Chris Grace, patterns of past behavior are more reflective of a person than their personality traits. For example, Truity personality tests explain how ESFJs can have the pattern of being too selfless and neglecting one’s own needs, and I can relate to that pattern. For predictions, 16 Personalities describes parenting styles of an ESFJ, but I won’t know if that’s accurate or not because I haven’t reached that stage of life yet. I don’t want to create a self fulfilling prophecy of how I will act towards my children based on patterns that other ESFJ parents have. In time, I will learn my own parenting strategies, but I don’t want to be defined by what a personality test says. 

Now What?

Personality tests are an excellent place to learn about our strengths, weaknesses, and habits. We can recognize that there may be an element of truth in the results, but we can also recognize that we are unique individuals and don’t have to fit the mold of what a personality test says we are. Also, we should not rely on personality tests to see if a person would be a perfect match for us. Everyone has positive traits and flaws that Myers Briggs can’t account for, and we should never judge a person based strictly on a personality test. Get to know the person deeply and love them for who they are, not for how their personality type is described on a website or how they predict you would match. God will lead the right people into your life and He will make it clear who is meant to stay.

3 Verses to Consider

Genesis 2:18 - “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” God knows better than we do who our best lifelong partner should be. We don’t need to worry about relationships because God will bring us to the person who we are meant to be with, whom he knows will complement us. 

Romans 12:2 - “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Trusting in God and following His plan gives us the ability to discern, and we should remember that He will lead us in the way everlasting. We are here for a purpose and God will reveal that to us as we listen and obey His commands. He has given each of us a unique personality to shine and bless others and we should not feel like we have to fit in the box of what our personality type describes us to be. 

Ephesians 4:22-24 - “Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” We should always be striving to live more like Jesus, not like what our personality type is idealized to be. The MBTI test can increase our self awareness of bad habits and we can use this knowledge to shed off those habits and become more Christ-like.

There are good ways and bad ways to use these tests, but we should remember to utilize this as a tool, not as a guide to make life changing decisions. Hold the results of the Myers Briggs test loosely and remember to prioritize your faith in God and using your life to satisfy His purposes.