Compatibility: What’s Important and What’s Not
My wife and I have virtually nothing in common and yet we are perfectly compatible.
How can that be? Well, it’s because compatibility is, perhaps, the single most misunderstood relationship principle in the world today.
People routinely seek to be compatible in ways that don’t matter, while they ignore being compatible in ways that really do matter.
If you don’t have a proper understanding of compatibility, you’re love life is really going to suffer.
So let’s look at the conventional wisdom regarding compatibility and then let’s look at a more conscious view of compatibility. Choosing the conscious viewpoint is a critical part of attracting LASTING love.
Most people define compatibility as having shared interests, similar personality types, matching intelligence or eduction levels, complimenatry senses of humor, equal sexual drives and comparable socio-economic backgrounds. (Good luck finding that, by the way.)
This definition of compatibility is ridiculous (and basically impossible) but for sake of argument, I’ll agree that those are important things.
But I’m here to tell you that even if you could find someone that matches you like that, you could still be fundamentally incompatible. Why? Because that stuff doesn’t matter nearly as much as other things do.
Now, before I get into those “other things,” let me get personal. Earlier I mentioned that my wife and I are incompatible (in the conventional sense of the word), so let me explain that and then I’ll tell you why we are compatible in ways that really do matter.
First, my wife is feminine and I’m masculine. That’s as incompatible as it gets! The masculine and feminine energies have completely different purposes and priorities. Additionally, she’s family-oriented and I’m not. (I rarely speak to anyone in my family, other than my son.) I’m athletic and competitive; she has zero interest in competing or watching sports.
I’m feisty; she’s calm. I’m out-spoken and opinionated; she’s quiet and sees all sides. She’s the tortoise; I’m the hare. I seek the public eye; she prefers the background. I like to go out; she’s a home-body. She keeps track of everything on an Excel spread sheet; I never balance my checkbook. I’m driven; she’s content. I could go on and on.
But even though we’re radically different, we’re perfect for each other because we’re compatible in ways that really matter. Allow me to outline 3 essential issues that truly matter.
Compatibility Essential #1: LIFE STYLE
For many years, I was a professional golfer, traveling 35 weeks out of the year. That’s a lifestyle and many careers are like that.
If you’re a small business owner or an entrepreneur, that’s a life style. If you’re climbing the corporate ladder, that’s a life style. If you’re in the ministry or sales or politics or the military or the entertainment industry or corporate America—those careers demand a certain kind of life style.
But beyond the professional realm, this applies to the personal realm too. Being a “DINK” (double income no kids) is a lifestyle, raising a family in the suburbs is a life style, being retired is a life style. We could go on and on but I hope you get the point.
You can find someone who likes to play tennis as you do, or who’s got a master’s as you do, or you can find someone who loves sex as much as you do, but if you don’t want to create and live the same lifestyle, your relationship will fail.
This doesn’t mean you have to be in the same business or on the same career path. It doesn’t even mean you both have work! But it does mean you have to want to live the same type of life.
The first reason my wife and I are perfectly compatible, even though we’re very different, is that we want to live the same life. We both want a quiet, simple life, me as an entrepreneur and she as a part-time therapist and homemaker.
Compatibility Essential #2: LIFE PURPOSE
The second issue that really matters when determining compatibility is the overall goal or purpose of your life. This is about having a shared destination.
Do you want the same things? Are you headed in the same direction? Do you have the same definition of success? It doesn’t matter what that is; it only matters that you share it.
Is spiritual growth and evolution your purpose? Is working your butt off so that one day you can retire and play golf everyday your purpose? Does your purpose revolve around family—having kids, raising kids, fussing over kids, and then doing the same with grandkids? Is your purpose to have a good time—partying, traveling and seeking adventure?
Now, you don’t need the same exact purpose to be compatible, but your purposes better at least compliment one another. They certainly can’t contradict each other.
For example, if you know that some day you want to retire and move to Florida and the person you’re dating is so family oriented that they’d never leave their hometown, you’re incompatible—even if you both have master’s degrees and share the same sense of humor.
How do you determine if you have compatible or competing goals? Simple. Open your eyes. People are always living their purpose. It’s revealed in how they spend their time, their money and what they talk about. (It would take you less than 5 minutes to know that the purpose of my life is spiritual growth. It’s obvious.)
I met my wife at a personal growth conference, and the fact that she was there said a lot about the purpose of her life. Right off the bat, I was pretty sure that we were compatible in terms of our goals. And I was right.
Compatibility Essential #3: LIFE COMMITMENTS
The final issue that really matters when it comes to being compatible are the commitments or values that govern the way you date, relate and live.
Here’s an analogy: If I want to play soccer but you want to play basketball, we can’t play together, right? Soccer and basketball are different games played on different fields by different rules. In order to play together, we have to be playing the same game.
It’s exactly the same way in relationships. You have to be playing the same “game” if the relationship is going to work.
Now, you get to decide what commitments will govern the way you date and relate, but as a relationship coach, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share 3 commitments that you’d be smart to consider:
- Commit to claiming responsibility rather than blaming.
- Commit to revealing rather than concealing.
- Commit to keeping agreements rather than breaking them.
[If you want a deeper discussion of healthy dating and relating commitments, see the blog I wrote called, Dating Games. It’s gives a detailed description of 7 commitments of conscious dating (and relating).]
Whatever set of commitments you decide to live by, you need to make sure the person you’re relating with is living by them too. Compatibility means you’re playing the same “game.”
Finding a partner with whom you are compatible is essential. But whatever else is important to you, be sure that you’re compatible when it comes to Life Style, Life Purpose and Life Commitments.
Finally, if you want to explore this or any other relationship topic, please reach out to me. I offer a free 30-minute exploratory coaching session to anyone interested in attracting lasting love. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 407-687-3387.
Roy Biancalana is a certified relationship coach, a TV personality, and the author of two books, the latest of which is the #1 best-seller, Attracting Lasting Love: Breaking Free of the 7 Barriers that Keep You Single. For the past 10 years, Roy’s mission has been supporting single people in the art of attracting and creating conscious, lasting relationships. He offers a complimentary 30-minute coaching session to anyone interested in working with him. You can learn more about him by visiting, www.coachingwithroy.com.