If you've read any of my writings on relationships, you'll know that I'm a big fan of similarity between both partners before the relationship begins.
It goes like this: Similarities between two people are like money in the bank. Dissimilarities are like debts they owe. It's okay to have a few debts as long as you have plenty of equity in your account; otherwise you're likely to be bankrupt at a frighteningly early stage.
I can remember a pre-marital discussion with a young couple. They were obviously worried about the idea of marriage and the girl, Nancy, was quick to point out why.
"Dr Warren, I'm worried because I've read your articles on similarity. I'm afraid we aren't enough alike to have a successful relationship."
She went on to tell me that she was a morning person. She loved to get in the bed early, have a good night's rest, and rise at daybreak. Doug, it turns out, was the exact opposite. He liked to watch Sports Center at 11pm and then read until he was tired. He was a writer and liked to take advantage of his flexible schedule by sleeping until 9:30 in the morning.
So I asked about the rest of their relationship. It turns out that Nancy and Doug had the same religious background, were of comparable intelligence and ambition, both loved to entertain socially, and had the same financial goals and personal values. They were, in fact, extremely similar in most important ways.
Nancy was noticeably relieved when I told her that all similarities are not created equal. In that spirit, I want to give you a list of traits that don't seem to matter so much when it comes to long-term compatibility.
Sense of humor
Energy level for physical activity
It is important to remember the broad outline of this policy on similarity. Your relationship can easily endure dissimilarities as long as your "bank account" has a healthy level of equity. Be sure to consider each debit and credit with an eye on the total balance and you can make sure you're making the right relationship decision.