Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Compatibility = ? (NaBloPoMo #21)

Inquiring minds want to know...
There are times when I wonder about what deems people as compatible. Is it similar interests, similar temperaments, similar values and philosophies? Is it similar backgrounds, life experiences? Is it similar personality types, or complementary ones?

I keep thinking that I know, but I find that I'm still re-defining this.

At the core, there are many similarities between Sterling and I. The young child looking to be understood, wanting a best friend, someone to believe in them, and someone to love. We also highly value communicating and striving to improve and develop the self. We are warriors at heart, fighting for different causes and passions, but believing in the fight. We believe in substance and heart over status and appearances. We value the arts and respect the those that strive to gain knowledge. We quickly assess people and situations, though we often act differently on the same information.

We can both be stubborn and headstrong. But when hurt, he usually closes up while I tend to get very emotional. He sees the concept of time differently and often spends and values it differently than I do. I'm much more of a morning person, though I also can be a late owl. I am used to being busy, though I can slow down. He loathes busy-ness. He sees time fluidly and does not like rigid schedules. One activity flows into another and when I get lost in it, I can appreciate it, too, but I tend to like structure of time.

We both value social relationships differently and invest in them differently. He has mastered physical, mental and spiritual balance. I desire to, but struggle. However, I tell him that the social is part of the triangle, too, and I have a better handle on that. I often give up "my" time for another person, while he has learned to guard his time as his own.

We communicate brilliantly at times, but we fight masterfully, too. I can annoy him sometimes as quickly as I can amuse or delight him.

But I suspect that defining compatibility is elusive, particularly in the context of trying to determine which relationships will succeed. Opposites attract, strength in thinking alike? Which is it? Both, neither, one of them?

I think it's knowing what is each other's "line" - the deal-breaker. And, oath of commitment to each other to dig in and work hard to make it work. Of course, when the work to make it work seems to supercede any benefits or pleasure, perhaps it's time to reassess...  But until then, if you really care for one another and are committed, then it's understanding the other's emotional thought process and promising to not cross "that line."

The unlikeliest of people may stay together while others that you swore were perfect for each other do not last... no one really knows except the ones in the relationship, of course.

There are times when I wonder at our compatibility. Sometimes I get irritated at his not always saying, "please" or when he doesn't hold back when he sees what he wants even if there were others present who also want the same thing. He gets annoyed at my heavy purse (and will carry it for me because he thinks it's bad for my physical balance), and how I can sit in front of a computer for long periods. I roll my eyes at the mess he leaves in the kitchen (but he brings me lunch everyday) and he sighs when I nag at him about keeping the downstairs bathroom cleaner.

But I am reminded time and time again when going through a difficult moment that I don't want to be with any other. I often forget the original reason why we might be disagreeing and just know it's time to make amends. Sometimes he tells me he is sorry and that I was right, while other times I must swallow my own pride to ask for his forgiveness. It's understanding that sometimes the "little" things are just that - not to be ignored, but not blowing it out of proportion.

Working at a relationship is negotiating with the partner and one's self over the priorities and needs of one another. It's an active reassessment of the present.

I'm certain that are some people who never argue or get along so well with their partner or spouse that they may not even understand what I am blathering about. However, for the rest of us, I think it's a lifelong commitment to honor the person that we love as well as honor ourselves in that relationship. Mutual and inclusive.

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