Why was Ayn Rand’s marriage a living hell? And how can you make your own better?

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go to?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right? Am I wrong?
And you may say to yourself yourself
My God! What have I done?!

My friend Teri Lussier was bragging on her husband, Jamie, yesterday – something great wives do with a spontaneous exuberance. I’ve been thinking a lot about marriage, of course – and not just lately. But the idea of DISCing marriages to four places is new for me, and it was fun for me to play with my new toys with people I know well.

So: I said:

D with S – mutual reciprocity. Y’all glow with it, so you know.

Jamie has a C-ish, introverted manner, but I liked him at Dsci when I met him in Orlando. I know you too-I-ishly, so that may crimson your hue in my mind: Sidc? I could swap the middle two for either one of you, and I would trust Cathleen more than me on the bubble. But if those two profiles are right, they make for a fun marriage: You would tend to enthrall and to ground each other perfectly, each when the other benefits from that most.

That sounds a little like astrology to me. It may seem even less plausible to you if you’ve never seen a happy marriage. But Jamie and Teri glow with happiness, and their us-before-everything bond is always in evidence.

That’s all there in their DISC profiles:

They are high-D and high-S, the way a happy couple should be. I cited mutual reciprocity, the opposite that attracts. We’ll see in due course why that matters. From first priorities to last, Jamie and Teri are opposite to each other in ways that inspire, excite, calm or comfort: Where he leads, she follows. When he’s feeling loving, she’s ready to dance. When he wants to protect them, she’s there to pitch in. And if he is ever at risk of flying off the planet – or off the handle – she’s there to ground him.

DISC is a map to a person’s character, and the DISC of a marriage is a map to how that couple will dance together over time. No marriage is perfect, but I like the way Jamie and Teri are oriented toward each other. The success of their lifelong dance is entirely a product of their persistent, consistently-virtuous choices. But you can see how those choices have emerged over the years just by stacking their DISC profiles one atop the other.

Do you want to look at a less-perfect marriage? How about mine?

I am Disc striving gamely to be Dsic. I’ll get there, too, if I live for a few hundred more years. Cathleen, by contrast, is the perfect wife, Sdic. That’s why we’re still married – because Sociables break up by reconciliation. If you look at the way our opposites align, you can see why we are so loving when I’m not getting in our way. You can also easily discern why we are always broke.

So how about a perfect marriage? This is hypothetical, Gaius and Gaia, man and wife:

These two are opposites attracting each other every which way. They are in opposition across both the D/S and C/I axes, which I think is the perfect baby-maker combination, too. As we’ve discussed, Dsci plus a socially-alienating moral praxis is the profile of the ideal father, and that man’s wife will be Sdic or Sdci – better-looking versus better-cooking. In terms of long-term fecundity, Sdic is the ideal bride, mother and lifelong companion.

So what does a bad marriage look like? I’ve been thinking this week about Ayn Rand’s awful marriage – a bad match, an abortion, adultery, suicide-by-alcoholism – yeesh! The fact that she and all her minions lie about her marriage is vile, but there are plenty of eye-witnesses accounts of Rand’s public abusiveness toward Frank O’Connor – allegedly her ‘top value.’

So take a peek at Frank and Ayn:

This is truly horrifying, the perfect hell for each of them. They are opposite to each other in all the most enervating ways: When he wants to see love, she demands compliance, and vice versa. Whether he’s working or playing, she’s doing the opposite. Sdic is the perfect wife, and Rand referred to her husband that way. Meanwhile, she’s ever-ready with putatively-unassailably-logical criticisms of his every loving display.

How’d you like to be a playful puppy hooked up to the Ferris Persuader – for life? That’s what an inescapable Cautious tyranny is going to feel like to a Sociable like Frank O’Connor. Why did he drink himself to death? No, why did it take him so long?

It’s no better for The Big O. Cids is as unilateral and anti-social as a person can get. Rand’s pretend-egoism comes off as atomism because hers is a super-villain’s DISC profile. She rhapsodized privacy, she portrayed solitude, but what she idealized and almost realized was a unanimity of thought: Many bodies, one Ayn-mind.

How do Cautious tyrants put themselves on tilt? The C dyspossibilty is perfect compliance. The I dyspossibilty is enraptured fascination. Guess what Frank O’Connor and everyone Ayn Rand surrounded herself with could never do to her satisfaction?

Simply knowing that Rand was Ci and O’Connor Sd is sufficient to know that her marriage would be awful. Stacking the full DISC profiles of the two of them makes it easy to see why.

So what might be the worst imaginable marriage? I invented a couple for this purpose, Inferox, who is every way the opposite of masculine ferocity, and Facinatox, who is in every way the extreme presence of feminine ferocity.

Take a look:

You can see these two as the central characters in the song “Creep.” He’s fat, slobby, schlubby, scruffy, awkward and shy – an involuntary celibate. She’s sleek and shiny in every way, repelling him like raindrops off a mirrored windshield. How could these two ever work as a couple? She’s a big star and he’s her dog-like devoted manager/driver/valet. That’s not a marriage, but it could last anyway.

Is all this too pat for you? Just so much letter-salad? Marriage is a way for you to fill the gaps in your DISC profile: That Sd woman needs a Ds man to get her motivated, but he needs an Sd woman to keep him agreeable. Every kid needs a mom to kiss his boo-boos and a dad to laugh about them. Marriage balances us, if we are wise – and if we marry wisely.

Liciano De Crescenzo said, “We are each of us Angels with one wing, and we can only fly embracing each other.” If you sneer at romantic metaphors, you’re probably a fair distance from being marriageable, anyway, but let’s go back and look at our five marriages visually, by diagramming and overlaying the DISC profiles of the couples.

Jamie’s and Teri’s dance looks like a dance:

These are stylized: I’m scaling DISC attributes at 100%/75%/50%/25%, even though normal distributions will be varied. But the gross shapes tell us a lot, seeming to create wings across the D/S axis.

Here’s me and Cathleen, also weirdly winged:

Gaius and Gaia show us the perfect geometry of the perfect marriage. These two are built to soar together, effortlessly, forever.

Do you want a great marriage? However you DISC now, change your habits so that, over time, you move toward Dsci/Sdic. The better you do, the better your marriage, your family life and your life as a whole will get.

Here is all of self-improvement in one tiny map:


Do that and everything in your life will get better in due course.

So taking account of those D/S wings, how badly do Frank O’Connor and Ayn Rand come off in a DISC diagram?

Yikes! They’re flying opposite each other! All the time! For life! They are quite obviously holding each other back: He could have had grandkids – and she might not have killed so many other people’s grandkids – had they not gotten together.

And that worst coupling, Inferox and Facinatox?

They’re actually aligned – just not on the D/S axis – where all of human civilization is aligned on the D/S axis.

But: Just think how much your life is already improved: You now know what makes a good marriage, what makes a bad one – and how to make your own marriage better. If you take the next step – actually moving yourself toward a better DISC profile – you might even be worth staying married to.

Your mileage may vary, of course, but it’s working for me!

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