The day you contemplate marriage is the day you find yourself questioning everything about your partner. Sure, you love this person now, but do you want to spend the rest of your life with him or her? Long-term compatibility involves many factors we don’t consider in the early stages of a relationship.
The Value of Values
The more core values a couple shares, the greater their compatibility, according to Elliot D. Cohen, author and president of the Institute of Critical Thinking. Do you and your partner have the same outlook on faith, money handling and child rearing? If you don’t know, now is the time to find out. Talk about your hopes and goals for the future. Consider whether your plans line up. If you each have a different idea about where you want to be a decade from now, a long-term commitment may not be a good idea.
Ability to Compromise
Relationships involve give and take, but how good are you and your partner at reaching middle ground? Marriage requires the ability to compromise and find contentment in those compromises, according to psychologist John Grohol, founder of pscyhcentral.com. If you compromise more than your partner, consider how likely things are to change in the future.
Long term compatibility requires temperaments that mesh well rather than personalities that are constantly clashing, explains Cohen. Two strong-willed people may not work together. Are you and your partner constantly butting heads or do you typically get along easily? If you go with the flow while your partner demands preparation and scheduling, consider how these differences will play out in the long run.
Even if the person you marry seems a perfect fit, you will both change. Your partner won't be the same person for the next 20 years. Instead, consider your ability to love your spouse regardless of the changes the future may bring. In the same sense, don’t count on your partner changing his or her behaviors. He may never be able to control his quick temper. She may never rein in her faulty spending habits.