Marriage embodies ideals of compromise and perseverance, and maintaining a marriage requires a lot of patience and commitment. But, you have probably heard that all before. Counselors and clergymen constantly talk about the extreme sacrifices that people must make in order to make a marriage work. Marriage boils down to two simple tenets, compatibility and communication. Without these two ideals no relationship can progress. Compatibility and communication ultimately strengthen or destroy a marriage, so every couple should check how well matched they are and how well they express themselves to one another before they wed.
There are several compatibility issues that will either complete or corrupt a good marriage. Compatibility is comprised of physical, emotional, mental, and sexual components, and each category represents a potential obstacle for every couple.
Physical attraction stands as one of the most underrated yet most important pieces of gauging compatibility in couples. People believe that dating someone based solely on their looks is shallow and narrow-minded. They think that choosing potential mates based on appearance means finding the most attractive person in their lives and wooing them. However, being physically attracted to someone does not mean marrying the prom king for ladies or some exotic supermodel for men. It simply means finding a person that you find attractive even when they are at their worst. When you are single, you put your best foot forward on all occasions. Ladies are always made up and wearing sexy outfits, matching underwear, and heels. Men wear their designer shirts, shave regularly, and spray cologne to impress their dates. However, in a marriage, you will eventually see a person when their guard is down and they do not have the energy to make their appearance their first priority. You will see your spouse without the grooming that you grew accustomed to when you were dating. Someday, your husband or wife will be unshaven, without makeup, sick, depressed, and unkempt. This is why basic attraction is more important than most people will admit. Physical attraction can distract couples from some of the lighter emotional trials that they will face. If you have a specific type of man or woman that turns you on, then your partner should share some or most of those traits. People are kinder to a person to those whom they are attracted. It may seem shallow, but you have to look at the face of the person that you marry for the rest of your life. It better be a face that you enjoy seeing.
Emotional compatibility weighs more heavily than physical attraction in relationships because the bonds made through emotional connections are stronger than aesthetic ones. Most people think that opposites attract when it comes to emotional attributes, but quite to the contrary, similarities in both looks and personality are what bring people together. People like and respond to people who are like them. Commonalities forge relationships. Men and women from similar backgrounds usually have similar values and parallel goals, so they also have common ground on which to stand. They relate to each other better than people with less congruent upbringings. Though people of dissimilar experiences can be attracted to one another, they have a smaller foundation to build their relationship upon. Emotional connection is the main pillar of any marriage, and the strength of the union is determined by how intuitive each member of the couple is.
Compatibility is necessary in almost every part of a marriage, from physical to emotional to intellectual. And, the level of intelligence of each person in a relationship directly affects how well they connect, so the mental aptitude of the couple has to be similar. Most stable couples share a similar intelligence quotient (IQ). IQ does not have to be exactly the same, however people who stay together have to be within a few standard deviations of intelligence of each other. To stay in a marriage people need to be able to hold meaningful conversations whether there is an emotional investment in the topic or not. Again, men and women associate with the people with whom they can relate. And since conversation is paramount to communication, people who are attempting to connect must be relatively equal intellectually.
One of the most underrated areas of compatibility is sexual compatibility. A couple’s sex life can serve as a good gauge of their happiness. When couples stop having sex, there are generally some other compatibility issues between them. Sexual compatibility lies somewhere between the physical, emotional, and mental categories. It encompasses all of the subsets, but can not be grouped easily into any one of them. Good sex requires physical attraction, emotional connection, and a certain amount of intelligence to come to fruition. A person has to excite their partner mentally and emotionally, physically motivate them, and keep them engaged. Each person has their own set of needs and desires, so couples have to have connate passions in the bedroom, but be willing to compromise. The best couples have complementary appetites and inclinations. Any sexual relationship can be broken down into how good the sex is, how much the couples desire to have sex, and the unique mystery of what turns each person on. Sexual compatibility is mostly about quality, quantity, and quandary.
However, one of the least considered factors in sexual compatibility is the desired frequency of sex between the couple. How often each member of the couple wants to have sex can weigh heavily for or against any relationship, because sex drive has to be similar in any successful relationship. When the amount of sexual desire is different, the partner who has a lower sex drive usually feels pressured by their significant other to have more sex than they require. This leads to less desire to have sex, performance anxiety, frustration, and ultimately resentment. The partner whose drive is higher feels frustrated too. They feel sexually frustrated, undesired, and ultimately become just as resentful as their partners.
People should invest their time and energy into other people who have similar sexual desires. Your sexual needs have to be fed by your partner for the relationship to work. Similar sexual interests promotes more sexual activity between lovers. Conversely, dissimilar tastes lead to less sex. The woman who wants to crap on her husband’s chest before sex should probably not marry a germaphobe. She will be left unfulfilled sexually and he will be disgusted. The quality of sex weighs more heavily than both the frequency of it and the type of sex that a couple has. Good, passionate sex bonds people together. In humans, sex works to ease tensions between people by releasing endorphins. Women get a cocktail of hormones that includes oxytocin, the hormone specifically related to bonding, when they engage in sexual intercourse. Sex literally does emotionally connect women to their partners, so a man’s ability to please his partner is essential to connecting in marriage. Good sex helps strengthen relationships. Whether couples engage in break-up sex, make-up sex, or good old-fashioned scheduled Saturday night sex, the quality of the intimacy counts most.
Being able to communicate with your spouse is equally as important as being a good match with them physically, emotionally, intellectually, and sexually. Couples that can not talk to each other candidly and effectively about both important and menial issues will eventually split. People in a healthy relationship must be able listen to the issues of their partner and to convey their feelings about their own problems. For any couple, sharing is paramount to their thriving relationship.
And contrary to what most people believe, communication starts with listening. People think that communicating is telling someone what they think and feel. But, the most important requirement of a good communicator is the ability to actively listen to people. Actively listening involves hearing and internalizing the words that are being said and repeating what you have heard back to your partner. It takes discipline and understanding. The easy thing to do in a talk or an argument is to react to what your partner has said and rebut immediately, however a person who values their partner’s opinion will listen and mirror the sentiments that they have heard back to their partner.
This simple action validates the partner and makes them feel understood at the least. So many disputes amongst couples boil down to he or she does not listen or they do not understand. Actively listening solves that issue. When it is your turn to air your problems with your significant other, you need to use language that is not accusatory and inflammatory. Speak about what you have done wrong in the situation, and then give suggestions about what both of you can do in the future to reach amenable results.
Communication is about relaying your ideas clearly to your spouse and letting them know that you have heard and that you respect their beliefs.