Couples considering marriage undergo many societal practices to prevent future heartache like counseling, prenuptial agreements and even pre-marriage testing. However, current news stories like the coverage of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes sudden break up, has many would-be I doer's wondering if marital happiness is truly possible. Even extreme wealth, physical attractiveness and popularity don't seem to guarantee good results. Still, many people do participate in pre-marriage tests like ones based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
Compatibility tests are nothing new. Carl Jung designed his personality typing model in the early 1920s. According to State University of New York--Cortland, mother-daughter team Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs used Jungian personality typing as a model for their own personality typing test, developing it in the 1950s.
Myers and Briggs identified four scales or aspects of personality: energizing, attending, deciding and living. Each of the scales are further sectioned into two or more classifications. By testing individuals with their MBTI, or Myers Briggs Type Indicator, the team assumed to determine whether two personalities are compatible or not. It is interesting to note that some colleges and schools use MBTI to help a student to determine a suitable career path.
In 1993, Professor David J. Pittenger published a paper concerning the MBTI in the Journal of Career Planning and Placement. Pittenger says, "The MBTI is a very popular test of personality. Each year millions of copies of the test are administered in the workplace, schools, churches, community groups, management workshops, and counseling centers. Many people see the MBTI as an invaluable tool that helps them understand their own behavior as well as the behavior of others."
Professor Pittenger later debunks the test's ability to accurately predict saying, "There is a large body of research that suggests that the claims made about the MBTI cannot be supported. In other words, although the MBTI appears to measure something, many psychologists are not convinced that any significant conclusions can be based on the test."
Despite the many questions surrounding personalities test, there are no cold and fast facts that assure success because of a couple's participation in MBTI or other types of testing. People wanting reassurance might want to wait a little longer before making a life time commitment -- or consult the stars!