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Background:

Wife and I have been together 10 years, married for 3. We were both 19 when we started dating and the first four years of our relationship were essentially long distance (saw each other 2 times/month).

We have good jobs and no kids yet (but we are thinking of starting to try soon)

We are both very respectful of each other and rarely "fight." If we have conflicts, we address it through mature discussions.

We have discussed our issues with a counselor but did not get much mileage out of it.

The Issues:

Despite having similar mannerisms on handling conflict, we have both have acknowledged that we very different people in a lot of ways. Our differences have always concerned me, but I have always brushed it off since I deeply love her and we generally managed to work around our differences. In addition, my wife is not as concerned about the differences. What has significantly changed lately is that we are thinking about having kids in the very near future. This has lead me to additional anxiety about our compatibility as couple.

Compatibility:

Our differences revolve around values, communication, and social interaction.

Social interaction differences:

My wife is VERY extroverted and bubbly. I am relatively introverted. I get uncomfortable in social situations with her and she with me. I get more introverted in social situations where she is present. The simple solution to this is that we avoid joint social situations where we can. However, I think this may become much more difficult with children.

Communication differences:
I respond best to sarcasm, competitiveness, and self-deprecation. My wife is not sarcastic, competitive, and does not engage in self-deprecation. She is very responsive to more monotone communication, which I have no problem engaging in from the questioning side. However, I have difficulty elaborating in response to monotone questions like "how was your day." For example, I would describe whether my day was good or bad and why. My wife's answer to that question, on the other hand, might be an hour long or more. I'll ask how her day was, what made it good/bad etc... This has created a communication gap where our conversations will be 90% focused on the goings on in her life. We've worked hard on this issue but have never really solved it. We both find this situation un-fulfulling.

In addition, my wife often acts very childish. Not as in immature, but as in like a child - e.g., making overly exaggerated faces, talking in a child voice, liking childish things like wanting to vacation at disneyland etc... This comes from her interactions with her family, where it is sort of their thing. She calls her parents mommy and daddy in a child like voice and does the same thing with her sister. She does this with me too, as it is sort of her nature. I have told her it bothers me and we have tried to work on it, but it is really not going to completely go away as that is part of who she is. This is sort of concerning to me since as weird as it sounds, I feel like our love sometimes feels more akin to that of a parent and a child. This behavior has in the past affected our sex-life as I find it a huge turnoff. This is one thing that may be improved when we have kids.

Values

There are many differences between us here, too many to list. Obviously, all couples have differences in values, but I feel that ours may be greater than most? Here are couple of the bigger ones:

She is religious and I am not. She has stated that this makes her sad and that she will bring the kids up in her religious tradition. I said I was fine with that, but that I wasn't going to overtly lie to the kids if asked about my religious belief.

She is very energetic and I am not. She loves doing stuff outdoors and I am more content with relaxing around the house. The energetic things I like doing most are competitive sports. She does not like competitive activities, however.

She likes to budget things down to the penny and I am more happy go lucky (after making sure to put enough away in savings and retirement).

So... with all that said, how important is compatibility in marriage? Is love alone enough? Any specific thoughts on our situation would of course be appreciated. I love the bejeezus out of my wife but we both often feel disconnected. How much of a problem is this likely to be going to be going forward. I'd be happy to provide more information! Thanks.
 

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It isn't necessarily the full compatibility that matters, but the willingness to compromise to be more compatible. For example, go to church with her even if you don't want to...
 

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I don't think there's a right or wrong answer about that. My wife and I have the same social compatibility issue as you and yours, except the other way round (I like to go out and socialise, she's happy to be at home relaxing), and we have very different likes and dislikes. I'd say we are as incompatible with each other as you and your wife are. On top of that, we're of different nationalities.

But we're making it work. I've dated women in the past who have ticked all the boxes as far as compatibility goes, but they weren't a patch on my wife. She's the bees knees.

And in the end, isn't love the main thing? What are you going to do? Get divorced because even though you love her, you're not perfectly compatible? It doesn't really work that way, does it? ;)
 

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Count your lucky stars that you have it so good. And quit over thinking it. It's a myth that we all have to be same to be compatible.

I think 90% of women talk more than their husbands do, and way more women attend church than men do. These are the things that make life interesting.

You sound like a lucky man. Don't get your head too far into the weeds on this one.
 

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My wife and I were totally different cultures, totally different religions, and, as is typical, totally differen genders.

Now...compatibility makes the road a lot smoother, but it's not necessary. You can still get to your destination but the drive is a lot more...interesting. (Tip: Wear your helmet)

Money: She sets out a budget for you and you spend it as you wish...and when (not if) it doesn't go as far as you'd like, you don't b*tch. You have your money 'style' and you need to work it out appropriately. You aren't wrong, but I'm the same way and the strange thing is money just doesn't stretch for some reason.

Religion: There is truth and there is truth. Disparaging or mocking her religion is NOT cool. Say simpley "I am not religious" and leave it there. Do not quote Dawkins, Penn and Teller, or the other athiest groups. This will lead to far more grief than you care to handle if you want to stay married.

Extrovert vs Introvert: Man up. Bubbly simple women who are flirty are what you call 'prime targets' to predators. So find a compromise where YOU ARE THERE. Just saying.

Kiddy voice: Are you frigging KIDDING ME? THIS is your worst marital problem? Seriously?
 

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Me & my husband are very compatible... except for our temperaments...but this appears to be more of a blessing, than a curse for us....He's the introvert, I'm more of an extrovert ...his humor is more DRY...and mine being more of a spontaneous outrageous feisty nature (sarcastic too)...
I did a thread on Compatibility (link
).... I do feel it allows our marital days to flow so much smoother, naturally ...when we are in sync in a wide range of areas.....

But .....this in no way means - a marriage can't rise above that.....true...when we're different in some areas... a little bonking of the mindsets, our wants, our beliefs, the $$ issue....it's gonna take WORK....a lot more work... grueling work at times.... but those who choose to
....
put their...
's to the task... hold on for the ride...too stubborn to let go.. will make it through...it's up to the 2 of you...it will be like being tested by FIRE, it makes a couple stronger...if you can pull through...reach that middle ground and find "Acceptance".

People can love so much they give unselfishly against their natures for their spouses...though I feel it takes 2 very committed people -who hold love & enduring very high & they are stubborn in going out of their way to please... because they don't want any resentment root springing in their marriage... and for those times they fall down , miss it ....they'll apologize & try to do better next time ...It's all about the spirit of Love & giving, being Grateful for what we do have, share.


What brought you together, what Is GOING GOOD ?... you've listed where you are UNcompatible... where are you compatible ... Love Languages? future goals, hobbies??

My introverted husband wouldn't care if he lived in the middle of the woods and never seen anyone but family... I enjoy people a little more than that! But he still goes out with me, he doesn't rush for the door.

Her childish attitude/talk ... I can't imagine how you could get over this one though - like JCD said... seriously... yeah...that's a turn off ! Maybe tape record her & play it back so she can hear just how she sounds. I don't know!
 

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Compatibility is important but only to the extent an individual makes it. I don't believe there is such a thing as a 100% compatible relationship. We're all unique in our own ways and this is what makes us interesting to each other. The only difference is how we choose to handle the challenging areas in the way of compromise. If one is not willing to compromise, that's when incompatibility becomes difficult.

In your case, it sounds like you're well aware of the challenging areas in your relationship. It's now up to YOU to decide whether or not you are willing to compromise within them and accept your wife for who she is.
 
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You will never know how you will feel about your "differences" once you have children, until you actually have children. Children change the dynamics of every relationship & lifestyle. Your children will have their own personalities, needs & desires. You may find once you have children that you have increased differences with your wife.

If you truly love your wife, are financially secure & want children, then have them. No matter how much planning & worrying you do about having children, it will not have much affect on how things will be when you have a child.
 

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I think it's very important to be "generally" compatible in the five pillars I discuss in my article on the subject (5 Pillars of Compatibility (& Incompatibility) ). I also discuss in that article how compatibility doesn't mean "same."

Most of the responses in this thread are saying how they can work around compatibility. I believe this is what many people do... for as long as it lasts.

Without basic compatibility in four of the five areas, a marriage will struggle along the way, but if there is significant incompatibility in two or more of the pillars, I believe there's a very high likelihood of the relationship crumbling eventually.

You've indicated signs of emotional and spiritual incompatibility, and I don't see signs of problems in the other three pillars. I interpret this to mean your relationship could go either way, depending on how much you're willing to invest to change your views and beliefs (or vice versa - she can also make changes if she wants.)

As you said, every couple has specific items of incompatibility. What measures the importance of them centers around two things: 1) if there are a high number of those items and 2) how important they are to the people involved.

You are annoyed by her baby-talk style. Is this so important to you that you would lose respect and love? It sounds like it is, and it's likely to get worse, not better, when the baby is born. Can you adjust your attitude about it or not? For YOU, this is somewhat important as well as an incompatible area.

You also mention an area of incompatibility with religion. Are you truly fine with your child being raised to have different beliefs from you? Will it matter to you if she immerses your child in that faith by attending church once or twice a week and talking about it at home? Do you need some boundaries here?

As far as extroversion, having a child might benefit you in the sense that she may be willing to do the tasks related to social stuff. However, despite her higher energy, having a baby is demanding. I can easily see a situation where she may feel you're not contributing enough and that she is doing more for the family than you are. This could create the kind of conflict that breaks couples apart.

I hope you'll talk with her about these things before making a decision to have a child.
 
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