Temperaments were first propounded in a theory of temperaments by the Greek legendary physician called Hippocrates who hypothesized four temperaments- choleric sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholic. The first two are extraverted while the remaining are introverted. But the modern version known as the temperament blend theory was proposed by a popular Baptist Minister who is also a psychologists, known as Dr Tim LaHaye. In his temperament blend theory, Tim LaHaye holds that every individual has at least two temperaments, one is dominant and therefore called primary, while the other is secondary or recessive. The dominant temperament is usually the first means of confronting obstacles of life and is responsible for ordinary behaviour, although modified or shaped by the secondary. The secondary is called to play when the primary fails or in intense behavioral circumstance. Each temperament has its weaknesses and strengths. As  Christian psychologist, LaHaye admonishes that strengths of temperaments should always be known and therefore maximized while the weaknesses should be curtailed.

Temperaments theory

There are basically four temperaments. We shall define the strengths and weaknesses of each one. Melancholics are unfriendly introverts. They are usually gifted people in music, art, research and learning. These are the philosophers, Nobel Prize winners, Mozarts, etc. Although they are industrious and self disciplined, they tend to be unsociable, too critical of others, negative (i.e. pessimistic), touchy and persecution-prone. This is the predominant temperament amongst the classical Greeks who were philosophers and the modern day Bhuddists in the East. Sanguines are fun loving extroverts. This is the predominant temperament among the Lagos Yoruba (Nigeria) and the French. Cholerics are domineering extroverts. This is the most common temperament in the Hausa of Nigeria.

According to Tim LaHaye who popularized the temperament theory of behaviour in the latter part of the 20th century, the following are the strengths and weaknesses of each temperament.

Melancholic: Strengths- Gifted, analytical, aesthetic, self sacrificing, industrious, self –disciplined. Weaknesses- Moody, self-centred, persecution-prone, revengeful, touchy, theoretical and unsociable.

Sanguine: Strengths- Sociable, responsive, warm and friendly, talkative, enthusiastic, compassionate. Weaknesses- undisciplined, emotionally unstable, unproductive, egocentric, exaggerates.

Choleric: Strengths- Strong-willed, independent, visionary, practical, productive, decisive, leader. Weaknesses- Cold, unemotional, self-sufficient, impetuous, domineering, unforgiving, sarcastic, angry, cruel.

Phlegmatic: Strengths-  Calm, quiet, easygoing, loyal, objective, diplomatic, organized, and efficient, humorous, Weaknesses Unmotivated, procrastinator, selfish, stingy, self-protective, indecisive, fearful, worrier.


We all have at least two temperaments, one is primary and the other secondary and we inherited them one from the mother and one from the father. Our secondary temperament is called upon in times of emergency, when the primary one is hopelessly incapable of doing anything. Thus fearful worrier, when confronted with severe problems, may resort to talkativeness, and enthusiasm if a PhlegSan (i.e. Phlegmatic-Sanguine).

MelSan- Gifted; feels hurt of rejection badly; feels everything deeply; rigid and will not cooperate unless things go his way; has poor self image despite his great achievements; very prone to persecution.

MelChol- Has self will and determination; perfectionist and slave driver; has strong leadership capabilities; may establish his own institution and run it well; very difficult to please or to live with; when corrected, may go into violent explosion; spirit of anger and revenge.









MelPhleg- Best scholars whom people like; prefer solitary environment for study and research; organized and efficient; good mathematicians and spellers; very worrisome; has tendency to be vengeful.

Phleg-San-Easiest to get along with for a long period; favourite of children and never angry; falls short of his true capability; quits school (or changes profession) early; follows line of least resistance; stingy; selfish but proud in a quiet way.

PhlegChol- Excellent group leader; good counselor for he is a good listener; very stubborn and unyielding; the older he gets the more sedentary.

PhlegMel- Most gentle and gracious; rarely angry or hostile; dresses simply; does not get involved in anything, stingy and selfish.

SanChol- Talks too much; highly opinionated; has mouth trouble (i.e. talks before he thinks); anger problem; not very honest.

SanMel- Highly emotional and may change from laughter to tear of vice versa very quickly; great actors and public speakers (orators); anger problem; wants admiration badly.

SanPhleg- Easiest person to like; extremely happy; likes helping people; motivation is by environment and circumstances rather than self; lack motivation and discipline and does not like work but likes socializing.

CholSan- Overactivity; best motivator of people; anger problem; brutally frank or hurtful; opinionated and prejudiced.

CholPhleg- Very organized; great planner; not autocratic, people enjoy working for him/her; make good husband/father; but harbours resentment and bitterness; will not agree to mistake and will make it up quietly; very stubborn.

CholMel: Very industrious; a thorough leader; a very good argumentator/debator; can be dictatorial/autocratic; hostile and resentful and a slave driver.


This theory was proposed after carefully scientific analysis of family trees and temperaments of parents and children by the present author in 1998.

Each temperament is from each parent just like the genetic inheritance patterns of sickle cell gene. But we do not know which these factors make one temperament dominant and the other recessive and we cannot be sure that homozygous states exist in temperament blends- such as homozygous melacholic, sanguine, choleric or phlegmatic. If they do, then such conditions as depression (melancholic homozyous?), mania (sanguine homozygous?), psychopath (choleric homozygous?) may exist.



The four temperaments are in the Book of Proverbs. Unfortunately the writer was only interested in the most severe of all the weaknesses of the temperaments. But also important are the lives of the various personalities of the Bible which can be used to deduce their temperaments and even temperaments blends. Prov 30:11-14

Melancholics: ‘There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers’ (11). Jeremiah, a melancholic, cursed his father in lament of the day he was born (Jer 20:14-15). The weakness of the melancholic is moodiness which may lead him to cursing himself and his parents.

Phlegmatic: ‘those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth.’ (12). Phlegmatics are always self- protective and so sure they are the best in behaviour.

Sanguine: ‘those whose eyes are ever haughty, whose glances are so disdainful.’ (13). Sanguines are egocentric, proud especially of their looks.

Cholerics: ‘those whose teeth are swords and whose jaws are set with knives to devour the poor from the earth, the needy from among mankind.’ (14) Cholerics are cold, angry and cruel.



Temperament blend sexualities


Temperaments and sexuality

Romance: Sanguine live romance and are aggressive about it. Melancholic demand romance. Phlegmatic neither take nor give. Choleric are unromantic and may be forceful (rapists).

Wooing: A phlegmatic may never woo or chase a female until he is chased. Sanguine chase anything on sight that appeals to them. Female sanguine choose their own men. Choleric use power, money or both to chase females. Female choleric chase their own men who invariably are phlegmatic.

Dating: Phlegmatic prefer choleric and vice versa. Melancholic prefer sanguine and vice versa. Hence the two unromantic temperaments go together while the romantic ones also go together. In most cases, the sanguine chases the melancholic and the choleric chases the phlegmatic, whether female or male. The male still takes the leading role when the women do the chasing. But the first move is made by the extroverted person and hence the attraction is between introverted (melancholic, phlegmatic) on one hand and  extraverted (sanguine, choleric) on the other.


Temperament blend sexualities

MelSan – Cunning in romance; incurable romantic but open to crimes of passion.

MelPhleg- Calculated and cool in romance but vengeful jealousy

MelChol- Romantic and disciplines; nagging problem

SanMel- Delight of the opposite sex but tendency to flirtation

SanChol- Subdued romantic, but tendency to monopartnership

SanPhleg- Tendency to promiscuity or even prostitution if not careful

CholSan- Sex for power or money; may  be a rapist

CholMel- Disciplined in romance; but sometimes sex for power.

CholPhleg- Discreet romance; sex for services

PhlegChol- Unromantic; may even chase the wrong persons

PhlegSan- May be lured to prostitution; quite romantic but tendency t promiscuity

PhlegMel- Can be completely unromantic; easily virgins.





LaHaye books- How to develop your child’s temperament, I love you but why are we so different, Opposites attract, The Spirit controlled temperaments, Why we Act the way we do. Eugene Oregon: Harvest House publishers.1977.


Temperament test

Temperaments and sexuality





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