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Family and Consumer Sciences

College of Agriculture, Life Sciences and Natural Resources

LIFE - Individual Growth and Development


Compatibility refers to the capacity for living together harmoniously, to be compassionate and suffer together. People with similar backgrounds, personality types, interests, and viewpoints tend to be attracted to one another and get along better than people who are much different in these ways. Of course, we can all think of exceptions in which "opposites attract," and even cases in which varied talents and perspectives aid coping. Partners who build their relationship like a jigsaw puzzle keep in mind their design (their goals, like the puzzle-box picture) and their commitment to mutual support. This process improves focus on finding talents, interests, and viewpoints to fit together, rather than emphasizing the many pieces which do not fit each other.

The puzzle of compatibility includes piecing together…

Social and Cultural Backgrounds

-Strengths: Finding success themes across each partner’s culture

  • Adapting and blending strengths (traditions and practices which build togetherness and adaptability) from each partner’s background increases stability and satisfaction of a couple’s life together
-Vulnerabilities: Recognizing potential weaknesses, within and between backgrounds
  • Reconciling differences between backgrounds and recognizing limitations of each tradition and practice increases flexibility in creating a quality marriage
Personality Types

-Opposites as Assets: The beauty of a puzzle picture is its variety

  • Partners with different preferences or styles can balance and adjust as a dyad
    -ex: An outgoing + quiet couple has talents to connect and reflect
-Opposites as Liabilities: Partners who are too much alike may be incomplete together
  • Partners who share a trait may risk an unbalanced relationship and future
    -ex: Partners with passionate ideas/feelings or too easy-going and agreeable
-Freedom of Expression: The living human puzzle is ever-changing
  • Partners allowed to grow and develop can learn to play a variety of parts, strengthening the relationship’s potential to survive and thrive
Knowledge on Marriage Issues: Money, Intimacy, Roles, Religion, and Parenting

-Partners who stay together and build satisfying relationships tend to have…

  • Income adequacy, money-management skills for the long- and short-term
  • Mutually agreeable expressions of affection, loyalty, sexuality, and privacy
  • Shared household and child-care roles, and respect for each other as equals
  • A spiritual foundation to their relationship, including practicing as well as believing and supportive connections to a faith community
  • Consensus on parenting roles and values; limiting parent-to-marriage stress
Establish Domestic Tranquility (or at least chaotic cooperation!)

Explore how similarities and differences in social/cultural and personality background contribute to strengths and vulnerabilities in togetherness and adaptability to change

Learn more about how to manage money, build intimacy, blend roles, strengthen faith, and parent effectively

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