A common theme for my clients is their wives questioning compatibility in their relationship.
This can be paralyzing for a man, for a couple of reasons.
First, from what I can hear, the woman’s criteria for deciding this are often not clear or well-communicated. She’ll often say, it just feels that way.
This claim is also paralyzing because it seems to suggest that the way you are is not a fit – and what in the world can you do about that?
So, let’s take a look at this, and give you a clear pathway for how to explore it.
First… What are the factors that make two people compatible?
I’ve included SIX areas of life that I believe are key to creating a harmonious, life-giving connection and relationship.
They are these:
- Social life
- Extended family
If we’re looking for peace, harmony and joy in a couple hood, these areas are critical to be aligned – at least, mostly. If they are not, they can create difficulties, and deep incompatibilities. If you have one or two out of alignment, you can likely work it out – if the other areas are strong. And, if you have GOOD relationship skills.
But if you have three or more that are out of alignment, it’s going to wreak havoc on any sense of peace and harmony.
Take sex, for example. Let’s say one partner believes in an open relationship while the other can only consider monogamy. You will experience extreme discord in this vital area of relating.
Let’s say one person wants kids, the other doesn’t. This creates an unfixable incompatibility.
Let’s say one partner wants a nomadic lifestyle, and this is super important to that person’s fulfillment, while the other partner craves a permanent base, with little travel, to feel safe and happy. This too is a recipe for disaster.
But typically, when my client’s partners are saying “we’re not compatible” it’s not about these key centers of life. It’s a lack of meaningful connection, and a whole lot of fighting.
If this question of compatibility keeps coming up, look at these different areas of life. Do your values align? Does your desire for financial security butt up against her value for adventure?
Does being together feel like you’re on a leash, rather than a life-giving umbilical cord?
If you sense that it’s a lack of connection and understanding, rather than a serious incompatibility, sincerely ask your partner how you can connect with her. What makes her feel heard and seen? And share with her, also, how you like to be connected with. What makes you feel heard and seen? And then work on this, in earnest, together.
A recent client of mine’s wife kept saying, “we’re incompatible,” but when he started to explore these themes with her, it really came down to her feeling unseen by him. Why did she feel unseen? He kept trying to talk her into feeling differently about her life than she did.
She felt he was trying to “talk sense” into her pain and the life changes she was going through, rather than hearing it. This left her feeling alone.
Another client felt his wife was incompatible for him because “she didn’t really like sex.” But as it turns out, she wasn’t feeling loved, and his anger around sex was driving her away. They weren’t incompatible, sexually, they were just disconnected.
The bottom line question is: Can you create harmony and peace, together? Or is this impossible — because of a few, or several, incompatibilities that are insurmountable?
Then perhaps there is a true incompatibility, and you want to consider changing the form of your relationship, or moving on. It’s important to look at this, directly and courageously.
I’d love to hear your comments on this and your questions. Is this something you’ve been dealing with for a while? Is this something you have hoped to get help with?