Issues and Challenges

How to Resolve Issues of Compatibility for an Enduring Marriage

" I care for you, but I can’t spend my whole life with you!” Kaleem tried to convince his wife. Why is it that he likes his wife but even then, doesn’t want to stay together? The reason can be a lack of compatibility. Compatibility is a natural ability to live together in harmony because of well-matched characteristics and traits. A person can have healthy relationships with others due to similar opinions, interests, traits, goals, likeness or love. We often use the terms of love, compatibility and chemistry interchangeably. However, whereas love is a feeling that you cultivate, grow and is an ever-changing process, compatibility is necessary to help love flourish and evolve. Many people have at one point been convinced by their feelings that they have met their perfect match, but ultimately discover that they are not compatible with them. True compatibility means being on the same page, but it also means honest communication and managing adversity through a focused and mutually aligned plan. Compatibility is the vehicle that carries the relationship through life’s curveballs increasing the bond we feel for our partners. Chemistry is what we look for initially and an instinctual desire that sparks relationships to begin.
Every couple is unique, therefore, how partners differ from each other is also unique; even very compatible people may differ in significant ways from each other. Compatibility is not something you always have, it is a process of partners’ willingness to change matters. If someone wants to resolve the issues of compatibility, they must be adaptative or try to understand the other’s point of view. Remember opposites attract because they completely know each other’s position. It is important to understand that issues causing incompatibility can be challenging and difficult to navigate. There are ways to work around challenges and overcome them. Few techniques to consider are: 
•    Celebrate the differences
•    Work on expectations
•    Bridge the gap
•    Work hard on communication
•    Find common ground
•    Have a heart-to-heart
•    Accept areas of disagreement
•    Be more open-minded
•    Consider the future
•    Try to stay calm in tough situations
Humans require compatibility in four basic categories of interpersonal relationships: family, friends, romantic partners, and colleagues. Compatibility levels change according to the nature of relationship. If we specifically talk about private relationships, compatibility is directly proportional to satisfaction and happiness. Issues of compatibility can make or break relationships. We can categorize compatibility in four types: physical, intellectual, emotional and eternal (spiritual). Physical compatibility is very important in a relationship and totally depends on personal preferences. We have often heard that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder and it is very important that your partner is attracted to you. Though, it may sound superficial and unrealistic, but it is necessary for a relationship to take hold and be maintained in physical terms. Intellectual compatibility exists among those couples, who respect each other’s intelligence, finding each exchange of views interesting and stimulating. It is vital to have emotional compatibility for a long term and strong relationship. Every healthy association needs a feeling of trust, understanding, support and commonality for emotional nurturing. A clear sign of emotional compatibility is that after every discussion you feel that you know each other well. Fourth crucial element of compatibility that lifts a relationship to another dimension and actually turns your relationship into eternal bonding is spiritual compatibility, where two people share a vision. In contrast to the first three compatibility types, which are all subject to change (due to age, changes in our needs and interests, maturity) this fourth one lasts a lifetime. Your vision can take on different shapes and forms, you discover new ways of manifesting your mission in life and key talents don’t change. When two people find a partnership on that level then their relationship evolves throughout their lives.
Generally, if you recognize a problem of compatibility in your relationship and are willing to take steps to change it, you can fix the relationship. However, it takes to make a marriage work, so if one spouse has their foot out the door, it can be difficult to fix it. The most ominous threat to marriage is infidelity; one can control it by maintaining a strong emotional bond, sexual intimacy, and respecting boundaries in relationships. Physical intimacy is indispensable in a long-term relationship, but it is also the root cause of one of the most common marriage problems. Due to our cultural constraints, the least discussed issue in society is related to sexual intimacy. Communication and keeping an open mind is key to getting through any form of sexual incompatibility. Some differences are too significant to ignore, such as core values and beliefs and it may lead to an emotional chasm. The only solutions to conflicts arising from different values can be resolved through communication and compromise. In situations where compromise is not possible, the best solution is to be understanding and agree to disagree. Couples with an age difference who are in different phases of life face compatibility problems; try to love and accept the different changes that life brings for both of you individually and as a couple. Try to pick up new hobbies that give you both a chance to rediscover each other and develop your bond. Many different situations can cause stress within relationships, including financial, family, mental conditions and illness. You can try to resolve this by talking to each other in an honest and patient manner. A couple may do the same thing every day without change and that can be the reason for boredom in the relationship. Surprise your partner with a gift, or an unexpected plan and watch your relationship transform. Jealousy is suitable for any relationship as long as it is not overly done. An overly jealous spouse can strain the relationship. Try to address the insecurity issue effectively and also take advice of a psychologist who can help you or your partner. Sometimes, couples overstep into their partner’s boundaries to mold their beliefs. Do not just love your partner, also learn to respect their boundaries and not force them to change.
Men and women communicate very differently, issues of communication are allowed to fester and the sanctity of marriage is definitely at stake. The only way to remedy them is to make a conscious effort towards improvement. Over time, a couple, intentionally or unintentionally, redirects their attention to other aspects of their lives. Lack of attention changes the chemistry of marriage. Listen to your partner first and foremost and give attention to each other with a refreshing new outlook. Finances can be a sensitive topic, so couples should carefully discuss money problems because nothing can break a marriage faster.
Inability to appreciate your spouse can be detrimental to your relationship. Without blaming or making the spouse feel cornered, express your feelings and need for change. A common issue in today’s world is always being engrossed in the cell phone in the presence of your other half. Keep your phones and other devices away to focus on each other without any distractions. Trust deficit puts too much strain on a marriage and the doubt starts to seep into a relationship. Open communication can help a couple understand the reasons for their mistrust and ways to resolve them. An anger outburst towards our loved ones can be very harmful for a relationship. It is vital to learn coping skills to help keep anger at bay, so it does not affect your relationship. 
Keeping scores is for sports, not relationships. Keeping count of battles won and lost within a relationship can set the foundation for an unhealthy relationship. Focus on the bigger picture and let go of the small battles upon which, you might have to compromise. We draw our inspirations of a perfect marriage from stories that we have heard from other people. Resultantly, this can raise expectations for one’s own relationship and when expectations are not fulfilled it breeds resentment, disappointments and pushes the marriage to collapse. Face reality and appreciate all that you have in your relationship. Expectations can set a standard even when the relationship is functioning smoothly. Every individual has his own way to express love, therefore, it can lead to misunderstandings. Identify and understand your partner’s expression of love. Maybe they have certain things they do by going out of their way to show their love to you, but because you have a different perspective you do not notice it. Appreciate them when you realize the same.
Every relationship goes through ups and downs, therefore, do not let uncertainties hamper your connection. Every problem can be dealt with if a healthy approach is taken to overcome marriage problems that are bothering you. Being respectful, understanding, and open to change can ensure that you can sail through any hurdles that might come up in your marriage. And when in doubt, consult a marriage counselor or licensed therapist for guidance. HH

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