Sarah was a talker and Paul was a doer. Where Sarah started any number of conversations with “I want to talk to you about…” Paul would rather express his feelings for Sarah by taking her out to dinner or buying her a bouquet of flowers.
One of the big problems in their relationship was that Sarah said “you’re not listening to me” while Pau said “you don’t appreciate the things I do for you.”
This is a classic case of having different communication compatibilities. Because they express their love differently, Sarah and Paul are in trouble.
This doesn’t mean that their relationship is doomed though. They have to be open to the idea that they communicate differently.
Sarah may need to get her verbal communication needs met with her female friends rather than her boyfriend. Paul needs to listen more when Sarah talks. Sarah needs to appreciate that the way Paul communicates is to take her to dinner or fix her toilet.
Women tend to be more loquacious than men in general. It is common for communications compatibility to be an issue in relationships. Fortunately, this is an issue where “let’s talk” can really solve the problem.
Sex is an issue in many relationships. Some people are more adventurous than others. Others want sex frequently while their partners are satisfied with making love less.
You should know that mastery of technique is one of the least important facets in a satisfying sex life. If you are able to communicate your desires to your partner, you can learn and grow together.
But, if you have fundamental differences in your approach to sex, there may be problems.
Jodi and Tom got together and at first, their passion was white hot. Or so Tom thought. But, after a few months, it became clear that Jodi was indulging Tom when she didn’t really want to make love every night.
Tom was confused because he felt that Jodi had led him on to secure the relationship and was now changing the terms. Jodi felt that she was settling down into a more “normal” sex life.
Through relationship counseling, Tom and Jodi were able to discuss their needs and desires.
So many things get ignored at the beginning of a relationship. A woman might not care that her new boyfriend doesn’t ever wash his car because she’s swept off her feet by him. A man might not be concerned that his new girlfriend seems to spend more time at the beauty salon than she does in her own living room.
But soon these life habits become apparent and can cause friction in a relationship.
Jim believed that “early to bed and early to rise made a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” On Saturday mornings, he was out of bed at 6:30 for a run in the park. When he got back around 8:00 a.m., he wanted to have a big breakfast and start the day.
Julia, was not ready to face the weekend so early in the morning. Saturday was the one day she could catch up on her sleep and she valued her time in bed.
Eventually, Jim joined a men’s Bible study on Saturdays so he felt that the morning wasn’t wasted and Julia agreed to be up by 10:00 when he got back so they could spend the rest of the day together.
But compromising on these life habits issues isn’t always so simple. Sometimes, they’re deal breakers. There’s only so much you can bend before you break.
Article 6 will conclude this series of articles on "compatibility in a romantic relationship".