Do you ever wonder why sometimes it looks like you and your partner are a match made in heaven only to suddenly think “Where on earth did I find this one?”
Some days it really feels like your love was written in the stars while others it just turns into a big cosmic joke.
We’ve all been there.
At times like that, doubts about how compatible we ever were may start creeping in and suddenly what once looked like refreshing differences become annoying and limiting traits.
While many will try and change their partner to be just a little bit more like themselves, others may just give up hoping to find a better suited match elsewhere.
No wonder many couples decide to call it quits nowadays: if changing another is an impossible mission, finding “the perfect match” is fairy tale material.
Or, as my granny would say, a load of rubbish.
No matter how different or similar partners can be, they all want one thing from their relationship: to be close together and enjoy their company.
When that happens we will naturally feel very close and that warm feeling of affinity will allow us to navigate life’s storm with ease and grace.
Even when we won’t see eye to eye on a particular issue, our closeness will determine how easily we will find a solution. It will also bring out the best in each other and inspires us to be involved in our partner’s interests.
Could it be then that compatibility is just a myth that often gets in the way in of lovers?
Being compatible or incompatible are two sides of the same coin.
When we look at our spouse’s differences with respect and a genuine interest, it will seem to us that we are on the same weave length.
But when we look at the very same traits with discontent and doubt, then we are in for a very bumpy ride.
Every opportunity will be an attempt to change the other, and we all know how that usually leads to tearful fireworks.
When I first met my husband, I remember how we couldn’t have been any different even though we tried, yet we both were so eager to learn and grow together.
Me Italian, him English for a start was synonymous of a world of difference in terms of cooking.
One day he confessed he didn’t know what courgettes were.
“Bless – I thought – he is just too cute!”
Then there was the whole temper and passion thing.
When I threw a glass of Martini at the wall in a typical Italian tantrum (or just my own tantrum?…), he very coolly said how that was the most amazing turn on ever.
And what to say about my “spiritual” approach to life against his “business minded like” attitude? The first time I suggested we’d pray together to thank the Universe for the joy in our life, he nearly passed out with laughter!
We were thrilled to learn from each other’s backgrounds and find ourselves a “better self” along the way.
Then things started to change.
Life together suddenly started to look very complicated and many times I wondered if we were just too different.
But rather than give up we incredibly managed to grow closer. Even at times when it was hard to trust it was OK to be just the way we were.
Mostly, what we never lost was enjoying each other’s presence especially when life looked burdensome and grey.
Today we treasure how different we are because it makes each one of us a more complete human being.
My husband keeps me solidly grounded while I smudge our lives in sage and I show him the way to a healthy emotional life while still enjoying an equally healthy worldly life.
With respect and affinity, differences within a couple will be turned into assets.
Both partners will be thriving while humbly embracing each other’s nature.
They will simply complete each other.
When suddenly the same differences cease being a blessing, that means our positive feeling towards our mate has lowered and we are now in a low mood.
Usually that will be an indication that we’ve been entertaining negative thoughts about them and very likely we’ll feel unhappy with the way they are.
That feeling of closeness will surely go out of the window when good feelings are replaced with judgement.
We’ll start feeling insecure and issues will start appearing more compelling to us.
It’s at this point that we’ll usually resort to analysis, self-doubts and fault-finding hoping to make things better.
We’ll try and get more of certain things assuming that will bring more love and closeness.
So it makes sense how lifestyle, children, hobbies and holidays could actually be just a way to try and be happier and closer.
But often this will only lead to distress as couples may actually grow apart whilst trying to pursue their goals and will lose sight of what really matters.
Truth is what really matters is if we think our differences or issues matter in the first place.
It’s not the actual difference that make us feel bad, but the feeling that comes from thinking about it.
So how do we grow closer together again?
By dropping the “heavy chats” and enjoy what we used to like before we “kissed each other back into frogs”.
Whatever that is, just do more of it.
When we allow our analytical mind to let go of an issue, our internal wisdom can take over and show us back to respect and appreciation.
One of my teachers, once on the verge of divorce, ended up playing cards with his wife for 6 months before they were finally able to put their differences behind and grow very close.
Forty years on, they know when they’ve both got in a low mood and it’s time to have a little game again.
Wrapping it up
- There is no such thing as “too different” as compatible and incompatible are just two conclusions about the same situation.
- Compatibility is a product of thought. By thinking differences are incompatible we will get a negative feeling from that thought. The negative feeling is what we call “incompatibility”.
- Partners are truly compatible when they share a warm feeling about each other and enjoy spending time together.
- Judgement and wanting to change our partner are signs that our affinity level and closeness have gone down.
- Differences are opportunities to thrive and become more complete people.
Would you like to learn how your thinking can be both very compelling and deceiving?
My coaching program Evoking Grace will offer you inspiring and effective ways to deal with everyday challenges while keeping your cool.