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Happily Incompatible Ever After

February 14, 2012

I’ve heard it said that the simplest compatibility test a couple can take is this: Is he a boy? Is she a girl? Then you’re not compatible. Obviously this is meant to be a bit of a joke, but the truth behind the laughs is that “What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.” That’s from Leo Tolstoy. While it’s good to have common interests, especially early on in a relationship, it’s not enough in the long run. I’m sure you’ve experienced the cold reality that sets in after being in a relationship for a while, the realization that while you love the person there are still things they do that get under your skin. Choosing whether or not to face this reality can be a major turning point for your relationship. Will you accept the fact that “prince charming” can sometimes be an ogre and choose to address these situations with him in a respectful and loving way because you know that you’re not always the “perfect princess” either? Or will you try to ignore his imperfections telling yourself that “love is blind”. This is something we all have to ask and answer for ourselves; there is no hard and fast correct answer for every situation in every relationship. But I can offer some advice.

It is critical that a couple be willing to take off the infatuation blinders and get to know who the other person is including when they’re not on their best behavior. Once you’ve done that, decide if you are still willing to fight for him or if you’re just going to end up fighting with him. Are you willing to work with your partner to move past each other’s incompatibilities? The other side needs to be assessed too. YOU may be willing to fight for the other person but are THEY willing to fight for YOU?

On the other hand it can be good, to an extent, to let love blind you. Some of us can be too nitpicky and want everything a particular way. Hoping your partner will do everything the way YOU want puts too much of a burden on them. And so I think that the secret to living “happily incompatible ever after” is prioritizing and balance. Figure out which things are mild annoyances and which things are deal breakers. Can you live with dirty socks on the floor instead of in the laundry basket or does the sight of it make you want to scream? Secondly, strike a balance between getting what you want and giving what they want. If those dirty socks have started making it into the basket, have you made sure his newspaper is no longer disappearing on him? Communicate your priorities and balance them out with his and you just might find yourself living a fairytale life.


Couple sitting together looking out at a lake

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