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Compatible Enough

Image credit: bowie15 / 123RF Stock Photo
Image credit: bowie15 / 123RF Stock Photo


Compatibility is helpful for successful relationships.
Compatibility is basically the extent to which your past experiences and resulting perspectives align with your spouse’s. The more your experiences are similar the easier it is to understand your spouse.

If your experiences with religion are similar, it will be easier to agree on what matters about God, which religious activities to participate in and which to avoid. The more your experiences with sex, money, children, education, and family are similar, the easier it is to agree on what matters, which activities to participate in and which to avoid.

The problem with compatibility is, there is no way to determine how much compatibility is needed for a marriage to thrive. There is no magic formula or compatibility quotient that will guarantee a great marriage. There is, however, a minimum requirement.

I have developed the only compatibility test you will ever need for your marriage.

Complete this compatibility test by answering yes or no to the following questions:

  1. Do you want to be married to them?
  2. Do they want to be married to you?

If you answered no to either question, tough luck, it’s not going to work.
If you answered yes to both of these questions, you are compatible enough.

If you feel incompatible with your spouse, it likely comes from repeated conflict and feeling overwhelmed with the effort it takes to maintain connection in your relationship.

The reality is, when your experiences are dramatically different, it takes more work to build a well-connected marriage.

If you only speak English and your spouse only speaks Mandarin, a relationship can work it will just take more effort and adjustment. If you always think the temperature is hot and your wife always thinks it’s cold, you have to learn to make reasonable adjustments.

To overcome differences you must commit to learning. Study hard and you can learn to understand your spouse’s perspective better. For a wonderful marriage it helps to have a deep understanding of why your spouse reacts the way they do. To transform conflict into connection intentionally and tactfully ask your spouse what experiences have contributed to their perspective. Be ready to listen, it could be a long story.

It may feel risky to seek more connection but it’s much better than settling for the minimum level of compatibility.

What has helped you address differences with your spouse?

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