Traditional advice is that one should marry someone whom they have many things in common with. Common interests, norms, morals, hobbies and a similar view of the world are thought to help keep harmony and balance throughout the course of a marriage. One blogger however is advising her readers do the exact opposite. Kara Storey in her newest blog post The Perks of Marrying Your Opposite explains that since she and her spouse are nothing alike, their marriage is an adventure and a process of discovery. She is always learning something new as time unfolds. Storey says her marriage prods her into trying things she would have never considered before, and how this fosters personal growth, and keeps things engaging. So the old idea that opposites attract but shouldn’t marry seems a little far-fetched, at least in her case. In fact, many psychologists suggest that this type of marriage can be healthy and beneficial for both partners. The most important thing to find out is whether or not your personalities are compatible or incompatible. If you complement one another, you will enjoy your marriage. This can be one of the most satisfying of relationships, offering two aspects that each person craves; safety and novelty, or nuance. A balance should be struck within the marriage between comfort and learning something new, thereby keeping the spark alive.
The most important parts are sincerity and communication. It used to be, since courtship in the Revolutionary period, that couples were instructed to be completely honest with one another. Noted historian Ellen Rothman says, “For both men and women, the best defense against deception was openness. After the turn of the [nineteenth] century, openness became almost an obsession for courting couples. In the nineteenth century, it was no longer enough to be sincere in one’s affections; lovers were urged to be frank and open about everything.” Certainly lots of things have changed since then. But we could all use a bit more candor in the dating scene. Men for instance today are socialized to believe that sex with anyone that will preserve or elevate their social status is the end goal. This can lead to all kinds of dishonest methods, poor relationship choices and other negative consequences. Meanwhile, many women are socialized to “put on their best face” and not let the man know exactly who she is, specifically what her shortfalls might be, until after marriage, cohabitation or whatever commitment style she is longing for. The irony in all of this is deception undermines love, but they are using deception to try and get it. Love is intimacy which cannot be had without mutual respect, openness and honesty. Yet these false stances threaten to undermine the very intimacy lovers seek to establish.
Being honest is one part but not judging others too harshly is another important element. People could go out and just be themselves, not try to put on their best face. They would also be upfront on what kind of relationship they were looking for, or open to, without fear of ridicule or rejection. The trouble is compatibility is complex. It’s difficult to know when it will inhabit a relationship. There is no test to see if two people will be good together for the long haul. Just when you think you understand it, a happy older couple will throw you for a loop and you are back to square one. Moreover, how two people interact changes over time. The two may be compatible now, but will they be in five, ten or twenty years? When you date someone, and marriage or a serious commitment is your goal, what do you look at? The best you can really do is keep your evaluation process streamlined and accurate. What do you look at when you are searching for someone to date seriously, and perhaps marry? Do you look at how the two of you interact, if you laugh and enjoy each other’s company? If it is only how you feel about them or when you are with them, realize that the fluttering of the heart like a hummingbird sooner or later fades. What‘s left is two people who hopefully like each other and can get along. Too many think that the honeymoon phase will last forever. It really can but not in the same way. That initial giddiness will be gone, but so will the monumental fear, a part which everyone forgets. But you can have a deep, abiding love and fondness for one another for the rest of your lives. If you are happy together, supportive of one another, and can work out problems as a team, you just might be the right fit. Whether you are the same or complimentary is really irrelevant. What truly matters is how you interact. If you are still wondering if the one you are dating is right for you pick up a copy of, Before You Save the Date: 21 Questions to Help You Marry with Confidence by Dr. Paul Friesen.