The Key to Compatibility

5 min read

Purge your mind of those theatrical ideas that love at first sight is proof that you’re “meant to be.” Think about it. How many times has that worked out? Plenty of couples experience instant attraction and chemistry, but in most cases it doesn’t last, or it’s only one-sided. You’ve probably experienced this yourself. This issue is fresh on my mind because of what recently happened to a female client of mine. She’s classy, fun, interesting and beautiful, and she just had a date through a Match Maker. After 30 minutes of coffee and chatting, the guy said he doesn’t feel the chemistry, and he “knows” it won’t work out. What a dope! It’s a classic example of someone who has blundered into this illusion and gotten lost in it. Where did this notion get started that you know immediately whether there is chemistry and whether that instantaneous chemical reaction will guide you to the promise land of true love? Poor guy! I wish we could watch him, like some reality TV show, and track all the women he rejects vs. the women who pass the test. I’d bet my shirt that his “strategy” won’t work out. This woman he rejected is a catch! My best advice is to reject this delusion, and you’ll be one step closer to true and lasting love. Now that I’ve gotten that all-important warning out of the way, let’s talk about what you do want to look for.

The secret to compatibility is this: shared interests and values. You may not find this very glamorous, but who cares about glamorous? It’s a façade anyway! Shared interests and values keep you closer to each other when it comes to your desires, your enjoyment, your goals, your principles, and your parenting methods. Not only does it help tremendously to be on the same page with your partner on these levels, but it also keeps you involved in each other’s lives, whereas other couples without shared interests and values tend to drift apart much more easily. When two people are pursuing different goals, and enjoy doing different things, it’s much more difficult to really be a part of each other’s lives.

Couples who have chemistry will have fun in bed. But couples who don’t share common interests, lifestyles and values will have many conflicts and fights. Couples who don’t have common goals, will drift apart. Now here’s the best part. When your values, interests, and lifestyles match, chemistry is a natural byproduct. Why? Because when your brain is turned on by a mental connection, endorphins are released (aka chemistry)!  So fear not if chemistry isn’t there immediately. It will bubble up when you match in the areas that matter. Now which kind of chemistry do you think will last longer? The one that’s created by a euphoric feeling of instant attraction with a complete dice roll on your connection or common ground? Or one that is based on a feeling of joy over discovering someone with that special connection of sharing your interests and your approach to life?

Don’t get me wrong, chemistry and attraction are great, but too many people treat them like the foundation of the relationship, and that’s just not true. Look at your relationship like a house: The foundation is your shared interests and values, the structure is your commitment and the effort you put into each other, and the blossoming garden around your home is the attraction and chemistry. Think of your relationship this way, and you’ll never screw up your priorities.

Don’t be one of those couples who works endlessly to build a house without a foundation! You might be able to stick it out without those shared interests/values, but you will have to put a lot more work into that house than other couples who have a foundation. The garden represents your attraction and chemistry because its beauty can fade, and be renewed just as easily. Everyone goes through challenging times in relationships. That’s part of life. But if you have a strong foundation and structure, your feelings for each other can blossom again and again over the years.

So when you’re getting to know someone new, there are things you can look for right off the bat, and you won’t need to grill them with questions that might scare them away. You can also evaluate an existing relationship the same way. These questions will help get you started:

  1. Do we share a hobby?
  2. Do we have similar political views?
  3. Do we have a similar attitude towards morals?
  4. Are our spiritual/religious beliefs in line with each other?
  5. Are there shared activities that we enjoy?
  6. Do we share similar preferences for our level of activity vs. relaxation?
  7. Are we similar in the time we like to spend socializing with others?
  8. Do we have compatible attitudes about money?
  9. Do we understand each other’s communication styles?

(When you’ve reached the appropriate level of intimacy, you can also evaluate whether your sex drives line up. It’s possible that it does not match, and that can be a deal-breaker in some cases. Please get to know the person before you hop into bed. Trying out the sex first is crazy, and it’s a formula for either person feeling deeply hurt if it doesn’t work out!)

The above list should give you a few ideas just to get you thinking about the right things. Keep in mind that you don’t have to match perfectly in all of these areas. That’s unrealistic. But you do want to match up on enough of them to satisfy you! It all depends on which of those questions are most important to you, so rank them yourself. If religion matters most to you, don’t kid yourself. You’re won’t be happy with someone who doesn’t/won’t share your beliefs. The same goes for politics, if that’s super important to you. But if those categories are only moderately important to you, then you have some wiggle room with your love interest. The money question should always be taken seriously, because it will have a direct impact on your lives together, and it can be really hard to compensate for an imbalance there. As for shared hobbies and activities, you might not think they are so crucial, but they really help keep your love alive. You don’t have to share all the same hobbies and activity preferences. One strong shared interest/activity can be just the right recipe for passion to keep your connection going while giving you the freedom to enjoy your other interests and activities separately. Sharing happy experiences with one another is the foundation of your garden, which, if you remember, represents your love, attraction and chemistry. Just think of it as the soil that helps your love blossom again and again.

Thanks for reading, and I wish you all the best! Just remember to build your relationship not from the top down, but for the bottom up. That way, you’ll know you’ll have a deep, profound love that will stand the test of time.

Coach Denise

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