Get ready for trouble!
It's a romantic notion as old as time — "opposites attract." When people are dating, they sometimes do feel attracted to someone entirely their opposite.
But can a marriage between opposites actually LAST?
Findings from our research in 50 countries indicates that "opposites make great mates" is FALSE!
Rarely have we interviewed a successfully married couple that held political, religious, societal or other heartfelt beliefs that directly opposed each other. Stark opposites might work in the movies, but in the real world, that seldom happens.
Let's face it, married couples (or those in successful long-term relationships) have enormous influence over each other. When those considering a love relationship fundamentally disagree on most issues of importance, they are HIGHLY unlikely to match up, even if they are attracted to each other. Most people prefer partners who are similar to themselves.
As you're making that all important decision about who to marry and spend the rest of your life with, consider the consequences of choosing a mate who is different from you versus someone who shares your likes, loves, views, positions, and passions.
Here are 3 ways to resist that initial pull (and subsequent pitfalls) of an "opposites attract" connection:
1. Know the five beliefs you hold most sacred.
Ask yourself, "What beliefs are so powerful that I cannot compromise when discussing them?" These are the beliefs that guide your life and form the substance of who you really are.
We have very rarely interviewed successfully married couples whose views differed drastically on issues of abortion, the death penalty, stem cell research, man-made climate change, gun control, immigration, same-sex marriage, taxes, welfare, etc., who had a successful marriage or long-term relationship. It almost never happens!
So, knowing what you strongly believe in before you start dating is the first step to avoid falling for your opposite.
2. Ask deep compatibility questions early in your relationship.
Don't let too much time go by dating someone before you ask critical questions about the values and beliefs you hold dear. Listen for a match or a mismatch with your views or statements.
There are seven critical compatibility categories to explore before knowing if you are dating an opposite:
- attitudes about sexual relations
- sports and entertainment
- societal issues
- life goals
All great relationships are built on shared core values. Where is the common ground between you both? Do you share most of the same core values and interests? If not, that's a red flag.
3. Look for a life mate while engaging in activities tied to your beliefs.
Get involved in groups aligned with your views on politics, religion, environmental concerns, sports, gun control, etc. You're more likely to find someone who shares your world view while avoiding ending up with your opposite.
While there are, indeed, successful couples that do NOT have compatible beliefs, this is rarely the case!
Make no mistake about it, your ultimate mate selection is directly related to your belief system. The feelings we each hold about these issues are intense, so don't dismiss yours casually.
While making friends with people who hold different opinions and beliefs than you can expand your world, when it comes to picking your intimate life partner, you'll find greater happiness with someone who shares your likes, loves, views, positions, and passions.
Those who fall in love (and stay in love for a lifetime) are, for the most part, soul mates. We say — when it comes to love and marriage, don't believe the hype about "opposites attract." Don't take the chance.
Over your lifetime, the most important influence in your life becomes the partner you truly love. Choose wisely! Select someone compatible with you. Being "unique" with your choice will only come back to haunt you in the future. Making a positive life choice will mean more to you in the long run than your attempts to be politically correct (PC) or trendy.
Your choice in a mate is, after all, about your happiness and theirs in the long run. Compatibility is a virtue. Don't spoil your chance of finding true love for a lifetime by taking the position that important differences in a relationship do not matter — they do!
Dr. Charles and Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz, America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts have been happily married for 50 years and give advice you know you can trust. Discover what happily married women know about what makes a man marriage material and learn other revealing truths in How to Marry the Right Guy—the latest multiple award winning book by the Doctors.