Psychology Article: Compatibility Is Overrated

Check out this really interesting article about marriage and relationships from Psychology Today. My favorite quote from the whole article from page 2: Compatibility is overrated.

THANK GOODNESS. I have often become very worried about this very issue in my marriage. My husband and I are quite happy together. But you look around and see those couples who have hobbies together, have similar social habits, similar jobs, similar personalities–it can make a girl say “Hm. Is it okay to be this different?” (Okay, in my case, I usually ask, “Hm, is it okay that my husband is this different?”)

I’m talking differences of the extremely obvious type. For example, I was an English teacher for a long time. Now I write books about English. My husband speaks English with a heavy foreign accent, NEVER uses the word “the” (ever). True story: he once wrote the word “pennies” spelled beginning with “pen” + “is” in a memo to me. Put all of those letters together–does that spell “pennies”? NO, it does not. Try being an English teacher and getting a note like this from your husband–I PROMISE, no matter how much you love him, it will cause you to become paranoid about your compatibility together.

Oops, I just got the urge to list a few other things that caused me to worry whether we are compatible. Anyone mind? If not, here we go:

  1. I am social. To says my husband is “not social” doesn’t quite cover it. I LOVE hanging out with family at huge family gatherings. However, at these events, you will find my husband sitting in a corner with his head down on a table or his hands covering his eyes. It looks very odd, and it makes my family nervous.
  2. I like keeping up with current national and world news. He has a very limited “news scope,” if you will. Also, I love anything and everything on topics like health, psychology, pop culture, celebrity gossip, basically any and all updates about most things. My husband likes updates about new softwares and only news from Russia and other former CIS nations. Don’t let me even try to talk psychology or pop culture with this man. He has no clue what the “Brady Bunch” even was. I am NOT kidding.
  3. I like doing things early and during the day like normal people. He likes to begin his day at 10pm and get everything done by 6am, then go to sleep. Kind of like a bat.
  4. I like traveling to different cities and countries. He likes staying home to be sure he doesn’t “miss out” on something or heaven forbid “risk” a possible deadline that may occur months from now. Granted, we have a few saving graces here. One is that my husband is from the wildest country EVER, so even living with him and talking about his upbringing is almost better than a real trip abroad. Two is that he has still traveled a great deal and to countries I would love to visit–he tells me about these places, and that’s fun. But still, real travel= rare or nonexistent for the rest of my future. Incompatibility big time.
  5. I am responsible. He doesn’t think or care about being responsible. I keep up with health, renewing driver licenses, things like this. My husband doesn’t forgets things like his own birthday. His passport expired 5 years ago right before he went to Canada for four months. He’s from a DIFFERENT COUNTRY but can’t go there due to no passport. For several years.
  6. I am not a big person on degrees. Associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, Ph.D. Whatever. However, I do like a guy with a high school diploma, and I’m not entirely sure my husband ever got one. I suspect he didn’t attend his last 2 years of high school. Granted a war was going on in his country. Also, he did get a bachelor’s, then a master’s degree in fine arts. But still, every time I try to ask about the high school diploma, both he and his mother get ALL dodgey-eyed. Whatever.
  7. I always had a very strong work ethic. My husband has no work ethic unless he loves his job. In his movie jobs, he has always worked till the wee hours of the morning and is a model employee because he loves this line of work. However, he has had other jobs where he actually SLEPT. Yes, SLEPT AT WORK. Yes, while we were married AND following and preceding long bouts of unemployment. (Note: This aspect of our incompatibility actually did almost lead to divorce after 1 year of marriage. But then he caught on and got his act together. But not due to work ethic. Due to wife trying to kick him out.)

I’d say these examples prove that my husband and I are what you’d call incompatible at the most basic levels, wouldn’t you? YET I am very happy with him. He takes such good care of us. He’s fun. We have dreams together. We have already made many dreams come true. We have great children and have made a wonderful family together.

So, I love this article. It proves that there’s absolutely no reason my husband and I need to be compatible. And thank goodness for that. Because we have only three things in common that I can think of after about one hour of pondering the topic: shared ambition, lots of respect for each other, and both really value family above all else. Oh, and we both know Russian, oh, plus neither of us are Russian. Okay five things in common. That’s all. (And one of them is something we’re both not. I’m not even sure I should count that one.)

6 Responses to “Psychology Article: Compatibility Is Overrated”

  1. My husband and I always joke that we would have never made a match on eharmony because we are so unlike eachother. But it works for us. We complement eachother very well, he really is my better half. I personally think too much is put into being compatible, wouldn’t that just be marrying yourself? I would’ve divorced myself after the first 6 months!!!

  2. Opposits attract, right? That’s why you work so well. My husband and I are TOO alike and he drives me CRAZY. Next husband will be a mute cleaning fantatic who likes to cook and is fabulously wealthy.

  3. Good point, Laurel! I would definitely have divorced myself quickly too. I never thought of it that way.

  4. Holly, you have six things in common… both love each other.

  5. Hi Tracey!

    Oh yeah! That’s the most important. Er…I shouldn’t have forgotten that one:)

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