A recent article reported a team of scientists has found that people are, more often than not, attracted to others who share the similar values and views. What’s more, they say, is that these similar views may lead to a more successful relationship. On the other hand, we’ve all heard the cliché “opposites attract” – and some of the greatest relationship researchers in the country believe incompatibility is actually grounds for healing.
Highly respected and renown experts in relationship therapy, such as Harville Hendrix and John Gottman, might take exception to the notion that the best relationships happen when a couple shares the same (or similar) values and beliefs. In fact, our differences may play a crucial role in preparing the partners to meet each of their needs. Harville Hendrix goes as far as to say that, “incompatibility is grounds for marriage and compatibility is grounds for boredom.”
People want to believe they fall in love with someone who is a lot like them. But the fact is, we are often attracted to people who are – in certain ways – our polar opposite. That is why romantic love needs to be such a powerful force. Without it, we see the truth about incompatibility right away – and run screaming in the other direction!
For example, my girlfriend and I are really different in many ways:
-She feels compelled to keep conversation going while I am comfortable sitting quietly
-She loves to talk on the phone while I do not like to chit-chat
-She is less in need for solitude or alone time while I love solitude and alone time
-She gets personal with people very quickly while I take a lot of time to get to know someone
-She loves to eat meat and could eat it every day, I could easily be a vegetarian
-She tends to be spontaneous while I tend to be more thoughtful and predictable
-I practice yoga and meditation 4 or five times a week, she does not
For couples like us with many differences, the question that needs to be asked is, can our differences help heal each other? Stay tuned for our next blog post, which addresses this very question!