We fall in love with a personality,
but we must live with a character. How compatible are you with that
character you fell in love with? How have you changed since you were
first married? Research reveals that as we learn to adapt to each other
we actually become more compatible. In this new column, marriage experts
Claudia and David Arp — founders of Marriage Alive! — share an exercise
that may prove you are more compatible than you realize!
can’t change your basic personality, but you can change your behavior.
In reviewing our marriage history, we realized we really have changed
and adapted to each other over the years. What about you? Why not look
back in your memory archives and see how you have changed and progressed
How to evaluate
Take two sheets of paper and list the ways you were similar when you
first married. You might list attitudes, believe system, interest,
desires and so on.
- Write down the areas in which
you were different — the areas you were less compatible.
- Now, think about which of your
differences have given you the most trouble over the years. Have you
made progress in resolving, or positively accepting, these differences?
- What changes have you made in
adapting to each other?
- What reasonable changes do you
still need to make?
Growth is born
some time to share your lists with each other. Discuss how you have
worked on your differences over the years. Have you grown and changed
for the better in the process?
You may find that while your similarities
provided a foundation for your life together, real growth has come mainly
from working through your differences. The key is to remember that wherever
you are now, you can keep adapting and moving closer to your mate.
Remember, compatibility is not a
state of being, but rather a goal to work for!