Author Monique A. Honaman returns with a brand new blog about finding the perfect amount of “weird” in a partner…
“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” – Dr. Seuss
I love Dr. Seuss. Always have. Always will! And, I love this quote about finding someone whose weirdness is compatible with our own level of weirdness. I don’t claim to be a dating expert. After all, I married the first guy I dated after my divorce, but I do think there is something to being compatible with the person you fall in love with.
There are two sides to that equation and they can be counter-intuitive and confusing. What are we to believe? Is it “opposites attract” or “two peas in a pod?”
Let’s start with personality traits. Many times, successful relationships are found where the couple balances each other out. One is a planner; the other a bit more spontaneous. One likes to save; the other encourages a bit of spending now and them. One is a neat-freak; the other brings a bit of organized chaos. How boring would it be if both people were stringent savers? You might never go out to eat, or go on vacation. How boring would it be if both people were neat-freaks? You might spend all of your free time cleaning up and organizing to the detriment of enjoying a beautiful day outside. How boring would it be if both people are planners? You might find yourself so overly planned that all joy is lost in experiencing the moment.
Some couples find these differences cute and appealing when they first meet. They are willing to overlook these potential “irritating” behaviors, and instead find them cute or acceptable — or part of dating and relationships. Perhaps they foolishly believe, “I can change this person” and then they get frustrated when they are not able to do so. Suddenly the “cute” trait becomes a monster issue within their marriage! As one friend recently said to me, “I heard all about how important it was to share common values, a religious faith, and a solid foundation of love when I first started getting serious with my girlfiend — now wife — but no one told me how many fights we would have over the fact that she doesn’t understand what silverware caddies are for (all the silverware goes in any slot!), or that she doesn’t believe in using hangers (because all of her clothes are on the floor).”
I’ve seen successful couples understand these differences and embrace them. “Sure, it’s annoying that he is as thrifty as he is and we haven’t gone out to dinner in five years, but I’m also thankful that he is such a good saver and we have college tuition and our retirement well-planned.” These couples recognize that their personality traits or style differences have the potential to build a wedge between them, and instead choose to embrace those differences and value them.
What about compatibility around hobbies or activities? Does the saying, “the couple who plays together, stays together” hold true? Yes! I truly believe that it does. I believe that in the short-term, couples can survive despite not having any mutual interests but longer-term, this can lead to problems. If both people are gone every night of the week and every weekend pursuing their own interests, they begin to drift apart. That’s a dangerous place to be. Before you know it, they are vacationing on their own (he’s golfing at Hilton Head, while she is at the Bead Show in Asheville).
I’m not saying that every couple needs to share the exact same hobbies. I am saying that having mutual interests, activities and/or hobbies is important. That’s what being a part of a relationship is all about — spending time together, enjoying each other’s company, and enjoying doing things together.
There does need to be that level of mutual weirdness that drives compatibility. Maybe your significant other thinks your passion for rustic backpacking through the Grand Canyon is crazy. After all, to him, roughing it is staying at the Holiday Inn. And, the idea of you spending six hours on a Saturday walking slowly across an overly manicured lawn hitting small balls with a skinny stick is enough to make you want to pull your fingernails out. Go your own way — absolutely! Have at it. But, also focus on what you enjoy doing together. Are you foodies? Try that newest Thai restaurant — together. Do you like to garden? Plant all the stuff you need to make that great salsa — together. Do you like to exercise? Train for that 10k — together.
I spoke with a woman last week who has been married for 42 years … to the same man! To say they each lead busy, active lives would be an understatement. They both have a lot going on and differing interests. More importantly, they come together over a couple of shared hobbies about which they are both really passionate (some might say fanatical!). She said, “We love our busy lives, we love our friends, but really, at the end of the day, he is my best friend and we are most comfortable hanging out with each other.” Major compatibility!
Returning to Dr. Seuss, what are you doing to find someone whose weirdness is compatible with yours? Are you willing to try something new in order to spend time with someone? Are you passionate about sharing your hobbies with someone else in hopes that he or she will eventually share your enthusiasm? Are you open to learning and embracing new things?
Author Monique A. Honaman wrote “The High Road Has Less Traffic: honest advice on the path through love and divorce” in response to a need for a book that provided honest, real, and raw advice about how to survive and thrive through one of life’s toughest journeys.