Although most of us would agree that ‘compatibility’ plays a key role in the success of any romantic relationship, few take the time to understand what it is or evaluate their perception of this nebulous concept. What this means is individuals can often fall into the trap of seeing compatibility or incompatibility in areas where neither exist. Here are six things you probably didn’t know about compatibility.
If you’ve been searching for someone who’ll magically fit you like a glove, I’m sad to tell you, this will never happen. You don’t simply stumble across your most compatible match then marry them. You work with your partner on being compatible for one another by adapting to and addressing each other’s needs. Compatibility isn’t a passive state. It’s a common foundation that you then build upon with your spouse.
So, what is this common foundation to compatibility? Well, depending on your priorities, this will differ from person to person. But some examples could be: outlook on life, common principles, future plans, emotional connection or a combination of similar factors.
What it isn’t: A long list of superficial attributes in a spouse you’ve been dreaming of since you were thirteen. Which brings me to the next point:
And it’s definitely not a mathematical equation. You can find someone who ticks all your boxes as the ideal spouse who then makes you miserable. Relationships are complex and layered and I’d be very wary of reducing a potential partner to a checklist.
Although assessing compatibility this way can draw attention to potential points of conflict, in the end of the day, these are not always accurate indicators. Whereas your interactions with the person and the emotional connection you build can give you a better idea of the kind of dynamic you’ll have in the future.
Custom order husbands and wives don’t exist. Seems like an obvious point, right? But it’s worth reminding ourselves that a level of incompatibility is normal as long as it doesn’t cause severe disharmony. The important thing is to be compatible in the areas that matter most to you, which is why the next point is essential:
If you don’t know what you want or need in a relationship, how could you possibly assess someone’s compatibility with you in an accurate way? So think about your priorities. What kind of marital life do you need to thrive? Once you truly understand your emotional and physical needs, it becomes easier to figure out what kind of partner would suit you.
Most people automatically think of compatibility in relation to background, religion, education, and career; and completely forget about personality, outlook and emotional connection. So, it’s no surprise that individuals find themselves in unhappy relationships with people who seem perfect on paper. There are different ways to understand compatibility and individuals will lean towards one way over the other because guess what?
Depending on your priorities and needs, who you view as a compatible partner will differ. This is why trying to calculate someone else’s compatibility with their partner can quickly become nasty.
Maybe your friend doesn’t prioritise intellectual compatibility? Maybe she thrives off of the emotional connection she has with her spouse instead? Some people can go into a relationship expecting higher levels of compatibility because they envision a particular kind of marital dynamic; whereas others have very little expectations. As long as everyone is happy, there’s no right or wrong answer.
Before you take out your list of questions and start interrogating a potential partner, take some time to build a rapport with them.
Why? Individuals are more likely to compromise on certain differences and perceived incompatibilities if they like the person and feel safe with them. Whereas, the quickest way to shoot yourself in the foot, is to bring up sensitive topics early on with the aim of assessing compatibility before there’s a foundation of trust and understanding.
This doesn’t mean never asking important questions. It’s about being smart with your timing and method. You can learn a lot about a person without asking direct questions that may rub them the wrong way.
In fact, once you start building a deeper connection, you might throw out your checklist altogether!
Author: Alwia Al-Hassan
Unlike many authors, my writing journey didn't begin with a fiery love for books at six. I couldn’t read English at six…or seven or eight. When I moved back to the UK after 3 years in Saudi Arabia, I was in year 4 and at the very bottom of the academic food chain.
Back then it would've been impossible for me to imagine that I would ever be fluent in English enough to get my BA in English Literature with Philosophy and MA in Arabic Literature.
I currently live in the Gulf with my husband and two kids where I spend most of my time blogging, writing fiction and working on breaking into the traditional publishing and self-publishing industries.
Be sure to read more of my work here: https://www.alwiaalhassan.com/
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