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Love Isn't Enough. Here Are 5 Ways to Determine True Compatibility With a Partner.

relationship love

We've all had past relationships that haven't worked out for one reason or another. Maybe it was you? Maybe it was them? Regardless, it goes without saying that oftentimes, love is not enough to make a relationship stand the test of time, while encompassed in true mutual bliss. Here are the 5 things you must have with your partner to determine true compatibility.

Aligned Values

Think about the most important things that make up the fabric of who you are. It could be based on your personal level of ambition, health, religion, family, work, politics, childrearing philosophies, or traditions. If your values do not align with your partner's, you will inevitably be doomed for a lifetime of friction. Sure, love makes you do crazy things. You may think you can look past some "problem areas" in lieu of other things about them that you truly enjoy and respect. But eventually, as time goes on, these things will take a toll. For example, I've known many women who were focused on career for a long time, got married, became mothers, and had a change of heart with not desiring to return to work and instead raise their child and be a homemaker. If this is not something you have prepared for in your relationship or have an unsupportive partner, it creates the foundation for a long life of resentment and regret in numerous areas - and there's no way around that. This does not mean people or circumstances can't change; I was someone who did not aspire to be a wife or mother myself, and had a change of heart through learning the deep desires of the person I loved, and I am all the better for it! Either having aligned values or developing aligned values is what makes for a harmonious partnership, though this should unquestionably be evaluated ahead of making a serious commitment with someone. The old idea of "they'll change one day" is not enough to go off of, and can lead to much emotional, and often financial, turmoil. While dating, they tell you to "look for the red flags" - and that is what this is. The flags are the values that don't align with what matters most to you. Would having a partner who owned guns freak you out? Would marrying someone who didn't want to spend Sundays with your family make you sad? Does the idea of not raising your kids in your religion feel wrong? Could you handle being with someone who didn't work or have real goals? Would having a partner that didn't prioritize eating and being healthy be too much of a contrast to your lifestyle? Could you live your entire life without being formally married or having children if that's what your significant other pushed back on? Would you be able to handle navigating life together knowing your partner vehemently supported the opposite political party? There are a number of issues to piggyback off of these examples, but you get the point. Values matter - more than anything.

Similar Lifestyle Preferences

Being active or sedentary, a social butterfly who loves going out or a homebody who thrives with a calm weekend schedule, a person who indulges in recreational "substances" or lives a clean life... these types of personal preferences make all the difference in figuring out if you can withstand the many seasons of life together. I've had a multitude of relationships end before I met my now-husband, almost always for one of the aforementioned reasons, even before I was looking for something serious. It's imperative that you are with someone that is aligned with your lifestyle preferences. Now that doesn't mean that if she's a long-distance biker, you need to pick up that hobby, too. It just means that you can share in and enjoy the same types of things, and won't become resentful of the choices your significant other is making down the line. I know many couples that have opposition within this subject matter, and they all fight constantly. The person who wants to watch Netflix on a Friday night is always going to end up resentful of the partner that can't wait to go out on the town with their friends to let off some steam. The person who has been drinking alcohol and using drugs for the greater part of their life (and was when you met them) doesn't want to suddenly be told they should stop just because you did. And someone whose "perfect vacation" involves getting tropical drinks with little umbrellas served to them while watching the waves crash on the shore does not often get excited about trips planned by their thrill-seeking partner who is dying for their next heli-ski adventure or 3-week mountain climbing expedition. It's just easier to live life beside someone who generally enjoys a lot of the same things you do.

Genuine Physical Attraction

I don't care what anyone says - if you are not genuinely physically attracted to someone, your relationship is destined to fail. That may not necessarily be with divorce, but it surely will mean an empty marriage if not. You know the whole "spark" thing people talk about? That's it. If you're on a first date with someone and don't immediately feel something when you look at them, I believe it's not a match, and you shouldn't waste your time. I know many people, especially women, will argue that "personality matters" and you can "grow to become attracted to someone." I think that can be true, because many of the aforementioned points are so, so important when searching for a mate, often surpassing the "need" for physical attraction. (ie: "Will this person make a great father? Is he a hard worker? Does he come from a nice family?) But I think deep down everyone knows what this is ultimately called... it's called settling. Maybe you feel weird reading this right now because it's your circumstance? I'm sure you know many couples where this is true, too. It's just a matter of priorities, and I totally, 100% get if you chose to be with someone that had "most" of your list checked off in order to get on with the life you envisioned for yourself. All I'm saying is that you may be missing a very important piece to the happy relationship puzzle if you don't get to wake up every day of your life next to someone that you would choose from across the party every single time, and to this day. Everyone deserves to feel loved, admired, and desired, and not as anybody's "runner up" choice.

Shared Passion For Where You Live

How many couples do you know that have friction when it comes to where they reside, or plan to move? I know plenty. I have friends that have moved across states to be closer to their partner's family (and thus moved further away from their own), became ex-pats in another country due to a partner's job relocation requirements, or ended up in a climate or community that they absolutely hated because they wanted to bend to the desires of their mate. The good news is that where you live is not typically a permanent requirement for the rest of your life. But, if you've got a southern girl who always said that after college she wants to move back to her hometown? You're going to be in for a lot of turmoil when decision time comes. Heck, I know many people that have broken up after years of being together after preferences for geographical location became a contingency of progressing the relationship. Do yourself a favor, and just be with someone who wants to live where you want to live, or has genuine willingness for compromise you can both be truly happy with. For example, my husband and I both grew up and went to college in the same places (before even meeting). Without even discussing it previously, we both knew we didn't want to live in New England for a number of reasons. Then as life progressed and we had a family, we both grew equally disenchanted with where we've been living in the tri-state area, and have since been on the hunt for a new place to call home. After much searching, we settled on moving south - but had identical views and checklists for what we were seeking, and that's how we landed on where we're now house-hunting in Florida. It's so important to be with someone that wants to be in a place you can both passionately call home, and sees a future where you do.

Compatible Goals For The Future

This is a big one that couples often don't even scratch the surface of until it's too late. But is it ever really too early to discuss your goals and dreams for your future? What could possibly be more important in the compatibility-department than that? I know people that want to retire as soon as possible, and others that love what they do and want to work in their job until they physically can't anymore. I know people that get to a certain age and want to fly south for the winter, and others that want to stay close to family and eventually be cared for there. I know people with goals of traveling the world, married to others with debilitating fears of flying. There are people that dream of raising their kids on acres of farmland one day, and others that would never be comfortable leaving the conveniences of the big city. You're setting yourself up for failure if you don't have compatible goals for the future with the person you decide to share your life with. Typically, all of the previous points are what feed into this one. You will grow and change together, but if all of the most important compatibility elements are met, sometimes you can develop new, aligned goals together. But it's most important to be honest, open, and in constant communication of what you want your future to look like to ensure you're not forcing your partner to end up somewhere they're unhappy, or you don't end up bending 'til you break.

In summary, love is about compromise... but not everywhere.

Things like what to eat for dinner, where to plan your next long weekend, or which couch should go in the living room are open for compromise. But your values, lifestyle choices, goals, where you live, and how much spark you feel with another person should never be things you settle on if you want a long-lasting, happy, and truly fulfilling relationship. They say there's someone out there for everyone... what could be more important than taking the time to find the person who is the right fit? Having the chance to grow old with someone you love wholeheartedly, and reminiscing about all the life you've lived together is truly the most beautiful thing of all, and the best gift you can give to them... and yourself.


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