Debunking marital myths – Part 2
Another myth that seems to determine what young men and women look for in their partners is the issue of compatibility. If you ask youths what they will like in their future partners, one of the things they are most likely to say is that they want someone who is compatible with them.
By compatibility, youths mean someone who has the same taste as them; has the same hobbies or similar hobbies; has similar educational and social backgrounds and is generally like them in behaviour.
Unfortunately, our tastes and the things we like are a function of our environment and exposure. If for any reason we change the environment and are exposed to other things, some of what we hold dear might change. Also, age helps us to redefine our likes, as the things that motivated us as youths may no longer have the same impact on us when we grow old.
In my experience, I have come to discover that you do not have to be compatible with someone to succeed in marriage. I come from a humble background and was raised in a village, while my wife grew up in Lagos and is from a well-to-do family. I grew up to enjoy thick pap, while my wife likes hers watery (of course with milk, sugar and other embellishments). After getting married, we found a solution to this difference in taste. My wife makes thick pap without any addition, serves my portion, then adds water and other things to her own the way she likes it and there’s no quarrel.
I also like watching CNN, while my wife loves Yoruba Movies. Since we have only one TV set, she sits with me when I am watching CNN and after that, we sit together to watch Yoruba Movies. There is no quarreling about what channel to watch, as we take a turn to share in what the other likes. Because we learned to accommodate each other’s differences, we have been happily married for over 35 years. This is compatibility.
It amazed me to learn that a couple divorced because they quarreled over toothpaste. The story goes that the man likes to squeeze the tube from the base, while the wife squeezes it from the middle and this led to a quarrel. All they needed to do was for each one to buy his own toothpaste and squeeze as he/she likes.
The issue of compatibility as an important basis for marriage is a myth because no two human beings, even if they are identical twins are the same. We can’t just like the same things all of the time. Secondly, because you were raised in a different background from your spouse, there are bound to be differences in behaviour. There are more fundamental issues that need to be in place to make the marriage work. The beauty of marriage is to harness the strength of your partner and help him/her overcome his/her shortcomings.
Once there is an agreement, you’ll find that ultimately, you and your spouse will have so much in common.
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