My husband and I recently celebrated our thirty-second anniversary. Wow, thirty-two years as husband and wife. Some would call reaching that milestone an accomplishment. I would agree.
Ours was a second marriage for both of us. Blending a family of completely different lifestyles was challenging. My husband and I went through lots of those. Challenges, I mean. The first year I was so nervous that we would become part of the statistics that report second marriages don't last. But we have! Not just survived, but each of us has grown and our relationship evolved. Our relationship is something I'm grateful for every day. For Thanksgiving, it's at the top of the list, along with having wonderful children.
In romance novels, there are no obstacles too big for love to prevail. Not distance, not differing lifestyles, not status, not ethnicity, not different belief systems, not even different solar systems.
In real life, it’s similar. Many of the former restrictions in our society have gone by the wayside. When we meet someone who trips our trigger, we’re typically willing to become involved, regardless of potential obstacles. In romances and real life, not much thought is given to compatibility in a developing relationship. We’re more inclined to follow our heart, believing simply the heart wants what the heart wants, and, of course, the heart isn’t wrong.
But humans are so complex. Is it that simple? Just follow your heart and you’ll find the person who will love you and you will love for a lifetime? Do opposites attract or does love find better luck between two similar people?
I don’t think anyone actually knows the answers to those questions. But according to Carolyn Hack, a relationships columnist for the Washington Post no matter what draws a couple together or the character of their relationship, compatibility is key to a workable mutually satisfying relationship.
“…The best way to find out whether you’re compatible is to communicate your needs clearly. And the best way to communicate your needs clearly is to trust them, vs. spinning them in the most favorable way or second-guessing your own normalcy. And the best way to show respect for normalcy as a range, vs. a fixed point, is to treat all (non-destructive) emotional styles and needs as equally valid, just different. Starting with your own. … If you can give each other what each of you needs without taking a chunk out of who you are, then you’re compatible. If you can’t, then you aren’t. Getting this cold calculation right is the secret to warmth that endures,” Hack wrote in a recent column.
Being compatible is not about being different or having similarities as much as accepting the individual as is and loving him or her for being themselves, wrote Marcelina Hardy, MSEd, BCC Board Certified Coach, for Love to Know web magazine.
“You cherish the person for who he or she is and respect his or her differences.”
In book four of my Fierce Hearts Series, Probabilities, were-lynx hero Quinn Arons is attracted to perky, vivacious heroine Tizzy Sands, also a were-lynx. But his life experience as a genius has taught him that average people find him difficult to engage with and reject him easily. He expects the same from Tizzy, because, after all, he’s serious and geekish, while she’s outgoing and normal.
Here’s an excerpt from Probabilities in which Quinn is feeling his differences around Tizzy.
Quinn watched her slip effortlessly into the conversation. He wished he could do it as easily as Tizzy did. A faint whiff of her scent, no perfume, just simply her unique scent with a touch of vanilla-scented soap, wafted to him. Dressed in a deep blue dress that hugged her slim curves and ended just above her knees, she dazzled. Her short blond hair framed her heart-shaped face in a delicate caress. At about five-foot-three inches, she made a petite but powerful package of bubbly personality and strong passion. He’d known her for five years, since she’d joined the colony. Their opposite personalities, his reserved, hers vivacious, made it hard for him to feel as close to her as he’d like. She fascinated him. Made his brain freeze. They were friends, sure, but strong feelings for her had always been there.
But he knew the odds. The probability of her finding him attractive in any way was slim. It wasn’t that he was insecure or lacking in confidence. His brain gave him a broad and rich perspective of the world, and he loved that. He simply was pragmatic and knew it was a challenge for “averages” to connect meaningfully with him.
He didn’t believe she was inferior or stupid. She was an asset to the colony and had proved it many times, especially in the most recent clash with The Nexus Group when they’d kidnapped Casey and gone to war with the colony over the group’s hunting services for trophy animals, animals that had been “hunted” in confined areas. The organization had been a threat to the colony and the community for years, but they had recently progressed to a very dark place of death and destruction. Tizzy had been integral to Casey’s survival during that battle.
She glanced Quinn’s way and lit up his insides with her smile. “Hey, Quinn. Big day for the colony, huh?”
Her hand on his arm sent his mind spinning. “Yeah. Big day.” Doofus. Your mind is racing with thoughts. Say something. “You look nice.”
Despite their differences, as they begin to get to know each other better, they start to appreciate the differing qualities in each other. Tizzy sees that Quinn’s mind is fascinating, and his heart is tender. Quinn sees that Tizzy is self-confident, but also very vulnerable. Whereas he can calculate solutions to any problem instantly and she can’t, Tizzy can easily contain and empathize with a member of colony’s sorrow or despair. A quality that is not Quinn’s strong suit.