Thoughts on Compatibility

This blog seemed worth a third look:

We had hints in adolescence of the heartbreaks in life, the vale of tears. They were largely heart wrenching when romantic relationships didn’t quite work out.

When we were just a little older we were looking for compatibility and a life shared together with a romantic partner. One current philosopher, Alain de Botton suggests compatibility is something that occurs only after one ties the knot. He put that more expansively in the most popular 2016, New York Times article on 5/28/16 as follows:

“The person who is best suited to us is not the person who shares our every taste (he or she doesn’t exist), but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently — the person who is good at disagreement. Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate differences with generosity that is the true marker of the ‘not overly wrong’ person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition.”

Sounds reasonable to me.

Oh Those Steps

“You can go a surprisingly long time without figuring out the kind of person you are and in what direction your life is taking you.” Carolyn See, who, was an American author.

As to my identity and directions in life, my first marriage lasted less than a year. The responsibilities, mutual and separate, were relatively minor, but real. Pay the rent. Cook the meals. Work for a living. Navigate conflict. The signal I was unaware of was the apathy that developed on my wife’s part. At some level, I learned that hate is not the opposite of love. That is reserved for apathy.

I also learned that once responsibility enters a relationship, it is finally tested. One may remember one’s first love fondly, but you likely never faced mortgages, financial straits, children, and the ravages of old age.

I brought with me those hard-earned lessons in my second marriage. The final ingredient that has kept us together for nearly a half-century has been a deep love for God. He guided me in learning who I was and who I was not. Amen.