Temperament Corner


Dr. Phyllis J. Arno


                                WHAT IS LOVE?—PHLEGMATIC IN AFFECTION

How many times have you, as a counselor, been asked?


Your first response could be to tell them “GOD IS LOVE” (I John 4:16) and direct them to read John 3:16: “For God so loved the world….” (See also I John 4:8-10.)

Your second response could even be to direct them to I CORINTHIANS 13: “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love.…”

How many times, as a counselor, have you been asked?


Your response could be to tell them that they need to love them with God’s love and direct them to read I John 4:12b: “…If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”

How many times, as a counselor, have you been asked?


Your responses could be to explain to them that after giving their heart to Jesus, His perfect love will flow through them. The only way they can truly love their deep relationships is by stepping aside and allowing Him to love their deep relationships through Him.

Now it is no longer their imperfect love that is loving their deep relationships; it is His perfect love flowing through them.

Dr. Douglas A. Wheeler points out in his book Betrothed: “We need to learn to accept God’s love.” He wrote: “The love of God has nothing to do with you and all to do with Him. You cannot earn the love of God, because it was there for you from the foundation of the world.”

Your counselees need to learn to rest in God’s love and not strive to meet their own needs for love and affection because God will supply their needs. In so doing, they will be able to meet the needs of their deep relationships.

Nehemiah 8:10 tells us, “…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Putting Jesus first, then Others, then Yourself = JOY!

Psalm 139:14 tells us that God is our Creator: “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

As you know, we are triune beings made up of BODY, SOUL and SPIRIT.

Our BODY is our physical makeup.

Our SOUL encompasses our mind, will and emotions. In temperament we call
these areas of the SOUL: Inclusion, Control and Affection.

Mary said in Luke 1:46-47: “My SOUL doth magnify the Lord, and
my SPIRIT hath rejoiced in God my Savior.”

Our SPIRIT is our only connecting link with God.

John 4:24 tells us: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must
worship him in spirit and in truth.”

Since our Spirit is our only connecting link with our Lord, how can we help our counselees make that connection?

By teaching them that they need to have their Body, Soul and Spirit in balance.

Each area of the Soul (Inclusion, Control, Affection) is trying to meet its needs—either in godly or ungodly ways.

Once we help our counselees learn how to bring balance to their Soul area, then the Spirit can take its rightful place.

We are going to look at ways we can help our counselees line up their Affection area with the Word of God.

In review, Affection is the need to establish and maintain a satisfactory connection with deep relationships for love and affection.

The needs within the temperament range from expressing love and affection to all deep relationships to expressing love and affection to only a select few.

They also vary from wanting love and affection from all deep relationships to wanting love and affection from only a select few.

Affection is the need:

1. To express and receive love and approval.
2. For deep personal relationships.

Affection determines:

1. How many of our emotions we share.
2. How emotionally guarded or emotionally open we are.

Affection is unique because:

1. The temperament needs of Affection cannot be genuinely met without a deep,
emotionally close relationship with our Lord.
2. It determines how intimate we are with the extremely close people in
our lives, and it also determines the depth of our feelings.

Each person tends to see the Lord from their temperament perspective. Their individual temperament affects their interaction with the Lord.

They will tend to express love and affection to the Lord in the same manner as they express love and affection to their deep relationships.

If they resist opening up and establishing deep, intimate relationships with others, they may also resist a deep, intimate relationship with the Lord.

Jesus Christ is the Living Word, and when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior, He reveals the Written Word (The Holy Bible) to us.

All He wants in return is for us to ask Him into our heart and to love Him with all our heart.

In other words, the temperament need of Affection cannot be fully met without a deep, emotionally close relationship with our Lord.

In this issue we are going to look at some of the Phlegmatic in Affection tendencies and what they need to do in order to line up their Affection area with the Word of God.


1. Have low energy and can be overly protective of this low energy.

2. Be an observer of their deep relationships because of fear of draining their low energy.

3. Use their dry sense of humor as a means of keeping their deep relationships from exhausting their low energy.

4. Prefer their deep, personal relationships express a minimal amount of touch, hugging and kissing.

5. Reject expressions of love and affection if it is not expressed in a manner with which
they feel comfortable.

6. Be emotionally guarded and can appear selfish and uncaring to their deep relationships.

7. Be perfectionistic and critical of their deep relationships.

8. Frustrate and irritate their deep relationships when using their dry sense of humor because they do not know if they are serious or joking.


1. Learn to be less protective of their low energy and make an effort to stay involved with their deep relationships. See Psalm 18:1: “I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.”

2. Learn to stop being just an observer and become involved. See I John 4:18: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.”

3. Learn that their dry sense of humor can be frustrating and irritating to their deep relationships. See Romans 14:19: “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”

4. Learn to come out of their comfort zone and be willing to accept the touches, hugs, and kisses from their deep relationships. See II Timothy 1:7: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

5. Learn to accept rather than reject expressions of love and affection from their deep relationships. See I Peter 1:22: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.”

6. Learn to take off their “mask” that makes them appear selfish and uncaring. See Romans 12:9: “Let love be without dissimulation (concealing true nature)….”

7. Learn to see their deep relationships with the “Eyes of Christ” and accept them as God created them. See I John 4:12: “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”

8. Learn to choose their words carefully when they are making humorous remarks trying to protect their energy as they can be, at times, cutting or hurtful. See Proverbs 15:23: “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” See also Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

PLEASE NOTE: These are temperament tendencies, and, as always, while you are counseling the Phlegmatic in Affection, you must take into consideration their walk with the Lord, learned behavior, personality and birth order.

In the next issue we will look at What is Love?—Sanguine in Affection.


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