How Knowing Your Happiness Style Can Help Your Marriage


Recently, I had the chance to read The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee.

The primary message of the book is that you should discover your own personal happiness style so you can fill your life with activities that make you happy, rather than trying to follow what activities make other people happy.

As part of the discovery process, she offered a happiness style test.

(Take it yourself at

Five Happiness Styles



Dukes Lee defines five happiness styles:

The Doer

This person is ambitious and most happy when completing tasks and being productive.  This person appreciates the weekend but is equally as happy to go back to work on Monday.

The Relater

This individual enjoys deep connections with other people.  She derives energy from being surrounded by family and friends and tries to guard against loneliness.  This person might be the one who starts chatting to the person next to her on the airplane and knows the person’s whole life story by the end of the trip.

The Experiencer

This person doesn’t place much value on physical objects and buying things but on experiencing.  He would much prefer to take a spontaneous trip or adventure and live in the moment.

the happiness dare

the happiness dare The Giver

Givers like to give to others and make them happy.  They don’t mind doing work behind the scenes that others may not notice.

The Thinker

This person needs time to spend alone, to have quiet and time for reflection.  She loves reading, and at a party, she’d prefer to have an in-depth conversation with one or two people rather than mingling and engaging in small talk with many people.  Some people see The Thinkers as aloof, but they’re not.

As I was reading this book, it helped me understand my own temperament.  I took the test and was primarily a Thinker, followed closely by a Doer.  My husband took the test and was a Doer, followed closely by a Thinker.  Perhaps that’s why we agree on many things.

Understanding Your Spouse

As I was reading, I realized that The Happiness Dare test should be taken by couples before they marry.  Too often, spouses try to change one another, which is very difficult, if not impossible to do.  Plus, couples often fight over money, and how they want to spend money is likely directly related to their happiness style.

For instance, a Relater may find outside entertainment important.  He may value spending Friday night going out for drinks with friends or out to eat or to a show.  He may want to host friends at his house and cook a big meal for them.

If this Relater is married to a Thinker, she may resent the money he spends on what she sees as frivolous activities that aren’t really necessary.  Because she enjoys spending time at home in quiet, she may be distracted by his friends and the constant need for company.

However, if they both took the test, he might understand why she doesn’t want to work overtime at her job (since that would cut into her time to think, reflect, and enjoy the quiet that she so needs).  She may understand that being with people is essential to his happiness.  Perhaps she could coax him to be around people in a more frugal way, or she could just accept that going out with friends on Friday night is important.  As a couple, they could designate a specific amount for him to spend when he’s out with friends.

When a couples’ happiness style aligns closely, as my husband and mine do, there usually isn’t much conflict about money.  However, when their happiness styles differ significantly, there is a high probability that they may also disagree about how to spend money.  Knowing each other’s happiness styles can help eliminate some of that conflict.

Do you think you and your spouse would differ significantly if you took the happiness style test?  How do you handle your financial differences?