No two people are ever 100% compatible. If they were, they
wouldn't add a thing to each other, and life would be pretty
boring. But differences need to be understood in a
relationship. If you haven't read
"Inner Languages", now would be a good time. Inner
Languages are a good introduction to the subtle differences
between people which can add richness and variety to your
life if understood but can cause friction if not.
While Inner Languages are important, other differences can
also affect day-to-day interactions with your mate. Let's
say you love instant gratification and your partner prefers
to wait and think about something first. If that's the
case, it's probably not a great idea to surprise your
partner with weekend cruise ship tickets on Friday night, no
matter how romantic it sounds to you. Being aware of, and
sensitive to, your partner's patterns can help keep a
relationship on track.
We're all familiar with instant vs. delayed gratification,
but how about "Conformists" vs. "Non-conformists"?
"Escapers" vs. "Dreamers"? "Gourmands" vs. "Gourmets"?
These are ingrained patterns in most people which often go
unnoticed, even by those close to them. Differences in
these patterns can can cause tensions in a relationship,
with both partners baffled and frustrated, feeling out of
"sync" and worrying that they're falling out of love. If
you know what to look for, though, the patterns are easy to
recognize. Then you'll know how to handle your differences.
Is your partner a Conformist, someone who likes to be
considered "in"? If so, and you've got an idea for doing
something together, say going on a certain cruise, the smart
way to introduce it is to say, "Everyone from Mick Jagger to
Lee Iaccocca has done this cruise and loved it." On the
other hand, if he or she is a Non-conformist, you'll talk
yourself out of that cruise in one sentence by applying
group pressure. Instead, get your partner to brainstorm
with you about different kinds of trips until he or she
finally suggests a cruise, and then say, "Hey, that would be
different. Great idea! I'll research it for us."
If your partner is an Escaper, he or she is primarily
motivated by getting away from something. A Dreamer, on the
other hand, is drawn toward something. If you're different
in this way, you may both want to get to the beach on a hot
summer weekend, but your thoughts couldn't be further apart.
One of you is thinking about getting away from heat, stress,
and honking horns, while the other is already smelling
suntan lotion and hearing the waves lap. If your partner is
reluctant to go for some reason, you're much more likely to
talk him or her into leaving if you know how to phrase your
A Gourmet is someone who prefers a small, exquisitely-
prepared dish to a less-artistic but filling meal; a
Gourmand is just the opposite. This trait extends beyond
food. Planning a vacation, the "Gourmet" will prefer a
shorter stay at an expensive, world-class resort; the
"Gourmand" will want a longer vacation at an "All-
Inclusive." The idea here is to learn your partner's
pattern and anticipate it. Then, instead of feeling wounded
when your obviously terrific idea for a vacation isn't
instantly embraced, you'll expect a little difference of
opinion and be prepared to compromise.
Compromise is a surprisingly difficult relationship issue,
especially with people who've been single a long time. I
can't tell you how many times my counseling clients have
been shocked when I mention that, in a good relationship,
they can expect to get their way maybe one-quarter of the
time. The typical reaction is, "Wait a minute, whose side
are you on?"
I have to explain that, in a close, stable relationship,
each partner gets his or her way about one-quarter of the
time, because about half the time, you wind up compromising
and no one "wins." In a good relationship, of course, the
love and fulfillment you get far outweighs the autonomy you
lose, so compromises come easily and happily.
Related Keywords: Love Strategies, Making Love Grow, Keeping Love Alive, Criticism
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