Love alone will not keep a relationship alive beyond the initial stages. Compatibility is the element that keeps relationships going for decades, and a lack of it can spell disaster.
Relationship compatibility is more than physical-you must connect on the mental, emotional, and spiritual level as well. The question of course is, how do you know before you commit to each other whether you have this mysterious element called “relationship compatibility"?
I have found a “lens" to look through that, whilst not infallible, will certainly give you a better idea than most couples ever have. Take a look through it now and see if your relationship compatibility measures up.
The first relationship compatibility element is: How much uncertainty can you each live with? That may sound like a strange question, but it is fundamental to issues such as handling of money and budgets, and how you bring up the children if you have any. If one of you favours a steady job with a reliable pension scheme, and it's got to be fish on Fridays, you aren't going to get on too well with a freelancing, bungee jumping aspiring pop star, are you?
Yes, I've taken it to extremes to make the point. But for some people, too much certainty leads to boredom, (virtually a guarantee of disaster for any relationship), whilst for others the only way they can feel relaxed is if everything is in its place. Certainty versus uncertainty, (for which read, “variety, risk taking or even fun") is a value system you should definitely both explore to check your relationship compatibility.
The second element of my “lens" requires a tough piece of self honesty. You need to ask yourself the question, “Do I care about the difference between love and lust?" It may sound like a crude yardstick, but in fact it isn't. Lust isn't just about physical connections, it's about feeling important. Some people choose partners as status symbols and ego boosters. This is not something you should judge even in yourself, and I most certainly am not doing that here. It is simply something you should know about yourself, and if your answer to that is “Yes. That's what I enjoy about being with someone, " then do yourself and others a favour and don't woo those who are looking for long term commitment.
You may change your mind at some stage, or you may not. But there are millions looking for the same thing as you, (plenty on the web!), so you're going to find plenty of compatibility there. I've hesitated to say it because it does sound judgmental, (it isn't), but the basic psychology behind this need is “What can I get?" You can get a lot if you both have this in common! You can have fun, including as lovers, and you can have companionship and friendship. Just don't get married or a joint mortgage, and please, don't have kids!
The corollary is, “Yes. I do care. I want to be in love. " Now, “in love" is a funny phrase. Mostly people mean they want to “be loved for who they are" when they say that - in other words, they don't see why they need to be the one to change. They feel they have a lot to give, and if that's you then be certain that you don't mean you simply wish to impose your views of how to live and love on someone else because you've “got it right. " No one has a monopoly on that, not even you.
If you can honestly say to yourself, “I want to know and learn how someone else lives and loves, whilst being free to express my own nature with that person" then you'll be in love. And that is as close as I can get to a definition of relationship compatibility.
Trevor Emdon is a self improvement author, and life coach. His areas of expertise include heartbreak recovery & the law of attraction. He originally trained as a mental health professional & NLP practitioner. He lives with his wife in his native England.
"How To Trust Love Again When Your Heart's Been Broken" - his heartbreak recovery program - is available now from http://www.trust-in-relationships.com