Sonja's Compatibility Questions
What follows is a list of questions I came up with to think about when
trying to decide if you and your partner are compatible. While this isn't
really directly wedding-related, the question does seem to come up in
soc.couples.wedding every now and again.
There is also a version
that is intended to be taken by both partners
separately, and then discussed together.
- Do you need the same amount of private time/space?
- Do you have activities you can do that are compatible during times
when you are together? For example, if he likes to watch football
games, and she likes to spend sunday afternoons together and doesn't
like to watch football games, does she have a hobby she can do in
the same room while he watches football games, or is the football
game going to drive her to distraction and make her want to leave?
- Do you have the same ideas about what constitutes a good vacation?
Does she like camping while he likes going to art museums?
- Do you interact with other people well as a couple?
- Do you get along with each other's families? How do you feel about
the way your partner interacts with their own family?
- Do you have compatible long-range goals? House in 5 years, Kids in 10,
Careers work with these plans, etc?
- Whose career is more important? If one of you got transferred, what
would you do?
- Do you want to live in the same part of the country?
- Do you want to live in the same kind of place (small town, city, suburb,
middle of nowhere)?
- Do you want to live in the same kind of house/apartment/condo? New
construction vs. 20 year old construction vs. 80 year old construction,
ranch vs. 2-story, high priority on kitchen/entertaining space/
- Do you have the same ideas about marriage? Do you both have the same
ideas about what constitutes an acceptable reason for divorce?
(think about it. Is it acceptable to get a divorce if your partner
is an alcoholic for 10 years? 5 years? 6 months? If they physically
abuse you? For how long/what severity? If they convert to a
religion you disagree with? If they have an affair? If they
lose their sex drive? If they stop taking care of their body?
What does it mean, to "stop taking care of your body?" If they
won't help out with the dishes and the cooking?)
Will you commit to getting marital counselling before getting a
- What about responsibilities in marriage? Who is responsible for keeping
the house presentable? Who pays the bills? Who cooks? Just saying,
"we'll share these duties" isn't really good enough. How do you think
it will *really* work, in practice? Is that going to be OK, or is one
of you going to feel like they're doing more of the work?
- How about sexual compatibility? If you haven't already been living
together for a long time, you probably don't really know how sexually
compatible you are. Do you prefer to have sex in the morning? In
the afternoon? Early evening? Just before going to sleep? How
often do you like to have sex? Once a day? Twice a week? Once a
week? Again, you may not really know the answers to these questions
unless you've been living together for a long time. Does one of you
need a lot of foreplay, while the other prefers little or no foreplay?
Is one of you ready all the time, while the other is ready only at
particular times/in particular situations?
- How about other physical compatibility? Do you like sleeping curled up
together, or with space between you? Do you think frequent snuggling/
hugs/kisses/tickles/etc. are important?
- Does one of you like to read or watch TV in bed, while the other wants
to be sleeping and finds the light or noise keeps them from sleeping,
or just finds that they'd rather be snuggling up and going to sleep?
- Do you have similar ideas about how money should be spent and saved?
If the TV broke, would you replace it right away, whether or not
you could really afford it? Would it be OK to charge it to a credit
card? How about if the car broke? If you were buying a new car,
would it be OK to buy a car that wasn't the cheapest one you could
find? Would you buy a used car? Would you buy the cheapest car that
you thought was reliable? Is it important to one of you to give
presents that cost $50 to your family members at Christmastime, while
the other of you thinks $20 is reasonable? How important is saving
for retirement? For your kids' college educations? Is that more
important than buying them better-quality clothes than you can find
at Wal-mart or K-mart?
- Do you have similar ideas about kids? When to have them, whether to
have them, whether one of you will stay home with them, how many
to have, how to punish them, whether they will be allowed to watch
cartoons, what kind of food they will eat, etc?
- Do you come from similar cultural and religious backgrounds? If you
have kids, what religion will they be raised in? Will you celebrate
the holidays of both religions?
- Will you visit family for holidays, or stay at home? Will this change
if you have kids? Whose family will you visit for which holidays?
- How about food on a daily basis? Do you like to eat the same kinds of
things? Do you have similar ideas about what you expect to be eating
for dinner, who will prepare it, and so on?
- What about jealousy? Is it OK for each of you to talk with members of
the appropriate sex? Touch them? Flirt with them? Kiss them? Have
sex with them? Fall in love with them? Is it OK to go out alone
with them to a restaurant? To a movie? Back to their place? In
- Can you have intelligent discussions about the issues mentioned above?
- Are you good at resolving problems you encounter in your relationship?
I don't mean to imply that you need to be compatible in all of these ways,
but I think you should be aware of your differences and have an idea of how
you will overcome them.