Supposition: why multiple intelligence theory can be vital for a happy marriage

Published September 21, 2008 by axinia

The Multiple Intelligence Theory introduced by Dr. Howard Gardner in 1983 is one of my favourites to explain the human nature and interactions. The traditional (western) take on intelligence is linguisticaly and logical-mathematically based. However that does not work for everyone, as there is obviously more variety of intelligences. Here is the Gardner`s classification:

bullet Linguistic intelligence (“word smart”):
bullet Logical-mathematical intelligence (“number/reasoning smart”)
bullet Spatial intelligence (“picture, space smart”)
bullet Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (“body smart”)
bullet Musical intelligence (“music smart”)
bullet Interpersonal intelligence (“people smart”)
bullet Intrapersonal intelligence (“self smart”)
bullet Naturalist intelligence (“nature smart”)

Later on  Gardner (1998) has nominated two additional candidate intelligences: Spiritual and Existentional ones, however he was less sure about how to define and incorporate them.

The theory says, a person has some of these intelligences highly developed, some less.

Out of my fasciantion for this theory I was observing my interactions with people around and came to a perplexing conclusion that my best friends are the ones with the same highly developed intelligence as mine (linguistic). Then I analysed all the happy couples I know and found out that  – as far as I can obverse – both partners have the same leading intelligence! If we look at celebrity world, we can see that many sport stars go well with models (both being “body smart”), and in generally people of similar professions can coexist much better (assumed they have chosen their professions according to their leading intelligence and not to some other reason). 

Could it be a good tip for those who are looking for a happy relationships? Surely, there is much, much more what makes a happy marriage/freindship/collaboration – but the mutual understanding seem to be based to a greater extend on the mutual intelligence. I think they call it “be on the same wave length”.

You can test yourself on your leading intelligences here or here. Please note, that Dr.Gardner was vocal about his disdain for a singularly psychometric approach to measuring intelligence based on paper and pencil tests.

LOVE, axinia


14 comments on “Supposition: why multiple intelligence theory can be vital for a happy marriage

  • Interesting for me as I am a fan of Gardner and have reviewed one of his books. However I personally do not think its related to happiness in marriage. I think opposites can attract and in fact often complement each other.

  • Nita, thanks!
    That is only my personal obseration 🙂
    But if you take my husband and me – we are quite opposite in so many ways, however we found out that we both have the linguistic intelligence, I was really surprised. But then I realised that the palying with words makes a huge part of our interactions… Then I noticed the same with other couples.

    Surely it does not explain everyhting, but can work for many. I guss we are also not that much aware of our intelligence (like everyone suspected me being “picture smart”, but this is actually not my leading intellingence. Developed, yes, but not the leading one.)

  • Axinia, if you are speaking of the level of intelligence I agree, it has some corelation. But I don’t think type of intelligence matters so much as long as one can communicate. For example my husband is high in spatial intelligence and its a huge help when finding places! If both of us were poor in spatial intelligence it would definitely have been a problem! 🙂 So in a way I think its nature’s way of getting us together!

  • I see your point, Nita!
    But I have a feeling that it may necesserely be the leading type of Inteligence, lay be one of the leading ones…May be his second or third type is linguisitc ? Your yours spatial? 🙂

    Or may be your couple is an exseption that certifies the rule??

  • Interesting…

    What happened to the theory “Opposites attract”.

    Even my personal experience suggest that people having same level of leading intelligence coexists better.

    On a funny note: we should ask couples to take the intelligence test before marriage. 😆

  • Opposites may attract as some say but being cruious about someone who is very differnt than you are and becoming infatuated is much different than suggestng taht they would be a compatible mate. Variety is good though. Through our differences as lovers we can take each other to new places, expand our imaginations and the depth of our connections with each other.

    As for same dominant intelligences being compatible, I would agree with you axinia. You can add me and my wife to your list. And I think the reason may be in the ideals that our intelligence places the most value on, in our case “natural”. This really helps us empathise and understand on a deep level what is truly important to the other even when we are very different people in many ways; she an extrovert with less linguistic intelligence, and me more introverted with higher linguistic intelligence. I see what you mean.

  • I am very glad to hear this.
    I think I guessed your happyness from your posts.
    Wish you more ten years of love with your beloved husband 🙂

  • Ich glaube das ist von Mensch zu Mensch verschieden.
    Ich persönlich verstehe mich besser mit Leuten die mir ähnlich sind, kenne aber auch andere die immer nach den “Gegensätzen” suchen.
    Zu ähnlich dürfen sie aber glaube ich auch nicht sein, sonst “heiratet man ja sich selbst”.
    Das Allerwichtigste ist glaube ich, dass keiner der Beteiligten sein “Wesen” unterdrücken muss, dass man vom anderen akzeptiert wird.
    Zu oft hört man ja leider von Paaren (aber auch Familien oder Freundeskreisen) wo “die Talente” einer Person nicht anerkannt werden und sich nicht entfalten können.
    Ganz besonders wirklich in der Familie, wo dann oft die Eltern wollen, dass ihr Kind ein Doktor wird, während er/sie selbst sich eigentlich für die Malerei interessiert und dafür wirklich Talent (oder Intelligenz) hat.
    In der Ehe ist es “fatal” wenn der eine Partner die Begabungen des anderen runterspielt oder schlechtmacht.

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