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Living with a Gifted Spouse? Here’s How to Handle It

After your first date, you were hooked. Captivated by his cute and quirky brilliance, you completely lost track of time and spent hours talking. You never met anyone like him before – the way he saw the world was so different and interesting. Let’s face it: Intelligence is sexy, and you were immediately drawn to him.

Fast forward several years and the two of you are married with children. You’re starting to understand what people mean when they say the reason you fall for someone is what ultimately ends up driving you crazy.

Marriage is tough. There’s no denying it. And living with a gifted spouse comes with an entirely new set of challenges.

10 Common Traits of Gifted People

While there are many characteristics that gifted people have in common, no gifted person is exactly the same. Here are ten of the most common traits:

  1. High level of alertness
  2. Long attention span
  3. Fast learner
  4. Very curious
  5. Excellent memory
  6. Extremely sensitive
  7. Likes to solve problems that involve numbers and puzzles
  8. Abstract and complex way of thinking
  9. Unusual sense of humor
  10. Vivid imagination

How many traits on this list does your spouse have? While most of these characteristics don’t seem problematic at first glance, they often present problems when it comes to interpersonal relationships. 

3 Relationship Challenges and How to Manage Them

  1. Conflicting communication styles

We’ve all heard, “men are from Mars, women are from Venus,” and this is certainly true when it comes to communication. It’s no secret men and women are wired differently, and this makes communication a common problem in most marriages. Women tend to be more relationship-oriented, which naturally makes them more emotionally expressive. Men on the other hand, are task-oriented, making them more logical and analytical.

When you factor in a gifted partner, communicating effectively becomes an even greater obstacle. If you’re feeling that you and your spouse are constantly butting heads, the first thing you should do is take a step back and try to see the situation from his perspective.

In most cases, diffusing conflict simply requires listening to him. While you may not agree with his point of view, you need to respect your partner enough to listen to what he has to say so he feels heard and understood.

  1. Different ways of learning and problem solving

Does your spouse get frustrated if you don’t grasp a concept quickly enough? His ability to rapidly absorb information can often make him impatient. Operating at a faster pace than most people, it’s common for gifted people to become frustrated easily. This can result in critical comments that can come across as arrogant or condescending.

Let’s say you are working together to organize your finances and budget your money. Your partner is trying to share the elaborate spreadsheet he created, crunching numbers and explaining everything in a way that’s too mathematical and complicated.

In this case, it’s important to speak up and be honest. You can say, “Thank you for putting so much effort into creating this, but I don’t understand it in this format. Let’s approach this in a way that makes sense to both of us.”

  1. Feeling inadequate

Just because your IQ isn’t as high as your spouse doesn’t mean you’re inferior. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and your strengths probably compliment your partner in ways you don’t even realize.

For example, you may be very intuitive, in tune with your feelings and the feelings of those around you. Naturally, people often gravitate toward your open, personable nature. You are extremely approachable and have an innate gift to make people feel at ease. Throughout your life, your high emotional intelligence has proven very valuable when it comes to meeting new people and building relationships in your personal and professional life. Some may even argue that EQ is more important than IQ!

Unfortunately, being exceptionally brilliant can often lead to feelings of isolation. Many gifted people have a difficult time relating to and socializing with others. This is why it’s beneficial for gifted people to be married to someone with high emotional intelligence. Your spouse may be an expert at financial planning and analyzing in-depth problems, but when it comes to social interactions you take the lead.

Since giftedness is hereditary, it’s quite common to have a child with similar traits: intellectual curiosity, large vocabulary, abstract thinking patterns, and so on. If you’re unsure if your child is gifted, try this online gifted screening test.

If you have a gifted child, it’s natural to feel like the odd one out – but it’s a mistake to compare yourself to your spouse or your child. You are a vital part of the family, contributing your own set of skills and strengths.

It’s perfectly fine if you can’t do math as fast as they can. It’s okay if they don’t immediately pick up on it when you’re upset or angry. Marriage, with a gifted spouse or not, is about coming together, accepting each other’s flaws, and embracing your differences.

Living with a Gifted Spouse? Here’s How to Handle It

Kaitlin Vogel

From covering health and wellness content to neuroscience to relationships and dating advice, I’m committed to creating content that matters. My goal is for readers to walk away feeling empowered and motivated – whether it’s to pursue their dream job, strengthen the connection with their partner, or follow mindfulness strategies to relieve stress and anxiety.


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APA Reference
Vogel, K. (2018). Living with a Gifted Spouse? Here’s How to Handle It. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/change-your-mind/2018/09/living-with-a-gifted-spouse-heres-how-to-handle-it/

 

Last updated: 25 Sep 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Sep 2018
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.