by Isa Eneye Mubarak
People often ‘fall in love’ with someone they think is their life partner without necessarily knowing whether they’re compatible or not. Love and compatibility are often mistaken for each other, but they’re not the same thing.
The strategy that many people use to determine who their life partner should-be is “feelings”. This neglects the fact that so many of our “feelings” are informed by things that do not translate to thriving relationships, such as social expectations, insecurities, class, luxury, beliefs or crude attraction.
For instance, take a Pan-Africanist like me marrying a staunch Feminist who doesn’t believe it’s a wife duty to cook for the husband or bathe the child, then I start complaining afterwards about her not cooking.
When I could’ve simply married a woman who will WILLINGLY cook for me, and let those who do not want to cook for their husbands marry someone who doesn’t mind and won’t complain. Even though I might love her, it won’t just work.
There are so many different instances such as these, but people often feel “love conquers all”. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. Marry a partner who loves the party and the high life so much with the hope they’ll change because you love them, they may, or they may not. It’s often difficult to change anyone’s lifestyle or belief system just like that; sometimes it’s not just worth it.
In some cultures, before one gets married, there’s usually a background check done by the families to know certain things that will help them make decisions. For example, things like their medical history, mental history, reputation, upbringing, e.t.c. These marriages often last longer, people can grow to love each other once they’re compatible. But if they’re in love and not compatible, it’ll be chaotic.
Likewise, in these modern times, you’ll be asked to know your genotype. A person with AS genotype is not advised to marry another AS and a person with SS is discouraged from marrying a person with the SS or AS genotype irrespective of how in love they seem to be. It’s simply because they’re not compatible.
But nowadays, we simply ignore compatibility. Feeling strongly about someone does not necessarily mean that you are meant to be together. Many people have at one point been convinced by their feelings that they have met their perfect match, but ultimately discover that they aren’t compatible with them. Consider, at the very least, modern divorce rates.
Compatibility is not a perfect science, though; having particular sets of traits doesn’t always guarantee that two people will get along well. However, there is one common denominator, and that’s willingness. Compatibility can be likened to a disposition, wanting to grow together. This is often fueled by attraction as we often want to build long-lasting relationships with people we find irresistible.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija