Marriage Compatibility: What to Look for in a Person Before Marriage
I am not a marriage therapist or counselor. Use the suggestions mentioned in this article at your own discretion.
Marriage Compatibility: More Important Than You Realize
If you do your homework now, before you get married, you set yourself up for a positive experience in marriage. Not doing so will impede your marriage for a long time to come and maybe even lead to its failure.
This is an age of short marriages and high divorce rates. This is because many couples make the decision to spend the rest of their lives together without having a thorough idea of what they are getting into. The partners often just assume that they will have a fantastic married life because they are madly "in love" at present. They do not realize that marriage is a whole different ball game from dating. They allow their feelings for each other to override their sense of what is practical or sustainable. They do not factor in whether they are compatible with each other. Worse still, some people think they can 'fix' their partners after marriage (never happens).
Facts are More Important than Feelings
Feelings are momentary, but you have to live with your decision for the rest of your life. Be aware that your feelings for your partner will definitely change with time and from day-to-day.
The toll of an unsuccessful marriage is high. Don't let the fact that marriages fail all the time fool you into thinking that recovering from a failed marriage is easy. There is a heavy mental, emotional, and monetary price to be paid if a marriage does not work out. The last thing you want is to be forced to hire an expensive lawyer and appear in court often to finalize a divorce settlement.
How do I know if I am compatible with my fiance?
You can get to know if you are compatible with your fiance by assessing yourself and them on some basic points. Read on till the end of the article for a checklist to help you assess if you and and your partner will get along fine or have issues in marriage.
General Areas to Focus On
When checking if you and your partner are meant to live together, focus on the following areas.
If you and your partner share the same values, your marriage will last long regardless of the issues that crop up along the way.
Values are the general principles you learn from your parents. Here are some values expressed from the first-person point of view:
- I will not steal.
- I will respect all life.
- I shouldn't cheat to make a profit.
- I should respect the elderly.
- I will not drink and drive.
- I will make listen before I speak.
- I will make time for my family.
If the values you have been brought up with are different from those of your partner, you will definitely have regular and long term issues in your marriage. For example, if you believe that scamming others for money is wrong and your partner believes otherwise, then there is bound to be a time down-the-line when your partner will try to scam someone to make some easy money, and you will be caught in a catch-22 situation whether to stand up what's right or back your spouse to change over time (unlikely).
If you and your partner are from the same culture, there is a greater chance that you will get along with each other than if you are not.
Being from different cultures need not be a deal breaker in marriage, but you will need to make a conscious effort to not misunderstand your spouse and vice versa. Here are a some cultural aspects that may require adjustments from either or both partners.
- In some parts of the world, eating with the left hand is frowned upon.
- In many Asian countries, one is expected to remove their footwear before entering a house.
- Wearing clothes that reveal skin is considered badly in many cultures.
- Living in joint families is common in South Asian countries.
- Eating pork is a taboo in most Islamic countries.
The way your partner looks at the world around them will also determine if you both can get along in a marital relationship. Do they believe in living in an intimate bubble with you or do they like to live a life of service with involvement in the issues of the world around them. What about you?
Will you be able to agree to disagree with your significant other if they have a deep-seated belief system that you fundamentally disagree with?
Mental and General Health Issues
You and your partner must be totally honest with each other about any existing health and psychiatric issues. This may be difficult in the moment but will pay off in the long term. There have been numerous cases where one partner has withheld information about one or more of their preexisting conditions, and this has lead to serious consequences for the marriage.
Remember, openness before marriage lays the groundwork for a more happy and understanding marriage.
Temperament and Communication
If your partner has temper issues now, chances are they will have them two or 10 years later too. This can place the marriage under strain. If you have temper issues, you need to sort them out before marriage.
You and your partner need to work out some mechanism of conflict resolution before marriage. This mechanism will need to come into effect every time there is a major conflict between you both, and it should not involve screaming or physical violence. This mechanism will be your channel of communication when you don't feel like seeing your partner eye-to-eye.
If you both stick to your agreed upon mechanism, issues will never be blown out of proportion by emotion.
Views on Having Children
If one partner wants to have children and the other doesn't, there will be serious ramifications. Bringing up children is a team effort and an uninterested or unprepared parent is bad for both the children and the relationship between the parents. Talk this out and come to a consensus before you get married. If you cannot arrive at a consensus, maybe this relationship is not meant to be.
Economics and Work & Life Balance
Economics is an important subject when starting a family! You have been single so far, and you have managed to stand on your own two feet financially. After marriage, some part of what you earn will go toward sustaining you household. Here are some common expenses after marriage:
- Moving into a new house
- Maternal health and childbirth
- Education for the children
- Getting a car
- Life Insurance
Marriage will place you and your partner in a catch-22 situation. You will need to work and earn to be able to support the family, but you must also be available for the family. Work this aspect out in time to avoid unnecessary stress.
The Role of Relatives and In-Laws
While nuclear families are the norm in most parts of the world, joint families are still common in many countries. Discuss with your fiance what kind of a household you will live in post marriage.
Living in a joint family (with in-laws and relatives) has its advantages and disadvantages. The perennial presence of other family members means there is always someone to have a conversation with and for the children to play with. On the other hand, privacy takes a big hit.
Sex and Intimacy
Will you and our partner be able to make time for bonding and sex on a regular basis?
Many marriages are sex-starved because one or both partners are unable to make time to for private time. A sexless marriage is an unhappy marriage.
Non-sexual bonding is as important as having sex regularly. This includes things like going out together and just being available for the other in general.
If you and your partner have differing religious beliefs, agree to disagree right away or you will have uncomfortable issues down the line like who goes to which place of worship and what faith the children will be brought up in.
If one partner is vegetarian or vegan and the other is non-vegetarian, both should learn to respect each other's food choices.
Final Word: Marriage is All About "Give and Take"
At the end of the day, no one can be totally prepared for marriage. There are bound to be surprises along the line. Giving each other enough space, having a general attitude of acceptance, and being willing to engage in dialog can make the marriage last a lifetime.
Do you both share the same values?
Do you both agree to respect each other's relatives?
Do you both agree to respect each other's faith?
Do you both agree that you need a mechanism of conflict resolution?
Do you both agree on whether to have children or not?
Do you both agree to share the responsibility of bringing up your children?
Do you both agree on whether to live in a nuclear or joint family?
Do you both agree to respect each other's cultural beliefs?
Do you both agree to make time for sex and intimacy?
Do you both agree to respect each other's aspirations?
Do you both agree to make family a priority?
Do you both agree to contribute toward the financial wellbeing of the family?
Do you both agree to put in your best effort toward making the marriage work?
Do you both agree to be honest and open with each other at all times?
Do you both agree to always sort out problems in a calm manner free of unnecessary emotion?
© 2018 Rohan Rinaldo Felix