Every person looking for a great relationship knows the importance of compatibility. You want to find someone whose beliefs, interests, and goals align with your own. The level of similarity will largely determine the fulfillment and stability you enjoy (or not) over the years to come.
Which brings us to a critical question: How exactly do you assess the degree of compatibility between you and a love interest?
1. Start with a thorough, reliable personality test. This will reveal areas of similarity and differences between you both.
2. Explore your family background and upbringing. That is what had the greatest influence on who you would eventually become.
3. Compare your dealbreakers and must-haves. Do you match up well with the qualities you’re looking for and wanting to avoid?
4. Ask yourself if you’re pretending to enjoy your partner’s interests (and vice versa). Sometimes we intentionally or unintentionally fool ourselves–and our partners—by acting enthusiastic about hobbies and pursuits. Over time, this false enthusiasm will fade away.
5. Assess your combination of passion and companionship. The most enduring chemistry between two people includes both passionate “sizzle” and deep friendship.
6. Recognize any cute quirks that might irk over time. Sometimes the habits and idiosyncrasies that seem charming while dating will grate on you through the years.
7. Gauge the level of acceptance you feel. Compatible couples feel a strong sense of harmony and freedom to be themselves.
8. Talk at length about your core values. Are you similar when it comes to your strongly held beliefs about social issues, spirituality, finances, politics, and child rearing?
9. Identify the differences that do exist. No matter how compatible the two of you are, there are bound to be some differences. Determine if those are related to significant issues that will impact your relationship over time—or relatively small issues that are be negotiated.
10. Observe each other in lots of different circumstances. Watch how each of you acts around family, work colleagues, at home, with children, and so on.
11. Evaluate your effectiveness at resolving conflicts. Where dissimilarities exist, are you and a partner able to talk them through and reach a fair resolution?
12. Look ahead. The standard job interview question is, “Where do you see yourself in ten years?” This is also a question you should carefully consider. Do your goals and aspirations for the future complement each other’s?
13. Take a hard look at your personal habits. All the nitty-gritty aspects of daily life—punctuality, neatness, grooming, weight management—can prove to a source of tension if two people having much different styles of living.
14. Notice how stress is handled. Pressure-filled situations tend to reveal our true nature. As Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that you can tell a lot a person by the way he or she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas lights.”
15. Appraise your adaptability. A flexible personality enables you to ride out storms and adjust to all kinds of challenges. This will be essential for dealing with the areas where you aren’t compatible.