Sex & Life
Sex & Life August 16, 2016
You’ve heard the phrase “opposites attract.” Certainly, a marriage with someone who challenges and inspires you seems highly desirable. However, research suggests that happy, long-married couples share more similarities than differences. Over time, even small differences in morals or personality can create chasms of resentment.
The Legacy Project at Cornell University interviewed hundreds of people married 40, 50 and more years. Participants repeatedly shared that “arguments emerge over apparently trivial issues … because they really reflect underlying values.”
The report continues, “Whether the wife purchases an expensive camera or the husband a new golf club is not the core issue in what can become a monumental fight, but rather the deeper attitude toward what money means, how it should be spent … Similarity in core values serves as a form of inoculation against fighting and arguing.”
Young couples should discuss their values relating to money, careers, family, faith, monogamy and other essential components of a long-term relationship before committing to a marriage. For example, if your partner feels strongly that children should have access to at least one stay-at-home parent, this is essential information to have on hand before deciding to have kids together. Especially if you both feel career-driven and are unwilling to leave the professional sphere, learning this information early on can help you plan for the future or move on to a new partner if differences cannot be resolved.
While similarities can promote smooth relationships with few conflicts, don’t confuse similar “values” with “interests.” For example, it’s fairly important that both you and your partner share an agreement about whether or not you are monogamous and exclusive in your relationship in order to maintain long-term peace. However, it’s not at all necessary for you both to like basketball to preserve your marriage.
Don’t sweat the small details. Instead, look for alignment on fundamental issues that tend to impact relationships the most, such as parenting style, opinion on vices (i.e. alcohol), attitude towards sex and commitment to community.
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