How much independence do you need and desire in a relationship? If you are in your 30s and never been married, you probably have developed a strong social network outside of a romantic relationship and will be reluctant to give that up just because you’ve fallen in love.
Jake was a computer programmer and spent long hours in front of his terminal. He was naturally a shy, quiet type and didn’t require a lot of social interaction to make him happy. When he did get away from his computer, he liked to go hiking alone or work out at the gym. Basically, he was an independent type.
Then he met Terri who was far more social than he was. She was a computer sales representative and her job involved making social connections in order to make sales. She thrived on contact with people.
Terri and Jake met when she came to his office to sell a complicated hardware system. The purchasing manager had called Jake in to get his opinion about the system. Jake said he needed more information just so he could go out with drinks with Terri.
After the initial bloom of the relationship, Jake started retreating back into his solitary world. He still wanted to spend time with Terri, but he had no desire to meet her friends or enter into her social world. Terri was hurt by this because she was so interdependent on her social network and felt this was a rejection of her.
Terri and Jake finally went into couple’s counseling. The therapist was able to help them see that they had different needs for independence. Jake had to compromise by being more social occasionally while Terri had to respect his need for solitude a greater amount of time.
|Top Notch Love Advice|
Many parents express to their children that they would be disappointed if the child married someone outside of their religious faith. Most of the time when we think of spirituality in terms of romantic compatibility we talk about specific religions. But, there is more to spirituality than that.
It is true that if you hold true to a specific faith, it may be hard to become close to someone who doesn’t hold those tenants. If you believe that anyone who doesn’t accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior is doomed to Hell, then dating a Buddhist or a Muslim presents significant obstacles.
Maria was a devout Catholic and always assumed she would marry a Catholic man. She met Jim who was a lapsed Lutheran and fell in love with him. As they started talking about their wedding, they began to see obstacles that could plague them for the rest of their lives.
For instance, Maria wanted to be married by a priest in a Catholic church. That made Jim uncomfortable because he had no familiarity with the Catholic church. When the priest told Jim he wouldn’t be permitted to take Communion at his own wedding, he balked.
That lead Jim and Maria to talk about other issues that they would face as a married couple. For instance, Jim wanted to raise his kids to be exposed to a variety of faith traditions and think critically about religion in general. Maria wanted to raise good Catholics.
As Jim and Maria began to discuss these issues, they realized that their initial attraction for each other was being dragged down by the issue of spiritual compatibility. Maria began to see a priest for counseling and ultimately realized that she would be happier with a man who shared her faith and Catholic values.
Article 4 in this series will continue with "work compatibility issues" during a romantic relationship.