What exactly IS compatibility and why is it important?

I am a firm believer that romantic compatibility is important. My experiences of failure and success in relationships has been so closely tied to compatibility that I’ve had a first-hand look at the stark difference it makes. Many people undervalue this topic and say that compatibility is not needed. I strongly disagree, but I would say that compatibility looks different for every couple.

Compatibility is subjective. Compatibility is based on your individual needs and desires. This involves deeply held values and beliefs, personality traits, and character qualities. Often compatibility comes through similarity, though differences in a relationship bring balance. The amount of similarities and differences needed in a relationship is pretty subjective to each individual relationship. The things to keep in mind are whether someone can connect with you in the areas that are important to you, has the capacity to meet your relational needs, and has complementary traits that bring balance.

Compatibility is not a selfish pursuit. Two partners who fit well together are powerful as leaders, as God’s hands and feet, and as parents. A compatible partnership will not only help you work great as a team, it will also lead to a deeper, more fulfilling relationship. When you experience joy, security, and acceptance on a deep level with your partner, you grow and develop as a person. It benefits you, your partner, and the world.

Compatibility does not mean perfection. But it does mean there are potential partners who could be wrong for you. When I say that your partner should have the capacity to meet your relational needs, I don’t mean that they will be perfect at it all the time, and I certainly don’t mean that they are the only person you need in your life. However, your partner should be able (and more importantly, willing) to care for the needs you have within the relationship: such as reassurance, encouragement, sensitivity, or space. It should be a natural priority to make each other feel secure, respected, and valued in the relationship. If one or both of you feels that you would have to change who you are or your needs to make it work, that could be a sign of a wrong match.

For my boyfriend and I, compatibility means that we have quite a lot of similarities and a few complementary differences. We both love deep, intellectual, meaningful conversations. We both love to study how people think, him through philosophy and me through psychology. We love to be silly with each other, and I’ve found out just how much of a dork I can be because I’m addicted to making him laugh. We share the love languages of physical touch and quality time. We naturally like to give and receive a lot of affirmation and spend a lot of time together. Most importantly, we share faith in Christ and are always seeking to grow personally and spiritually together. We’re not perfect, and we don’t meet every need of each other all the time, but we would both say that our relationship leads to a great amount of joy, fulfillment, and growth.

For those who are single and looking for a relationship, understanding compatibility can help you seek out a fulfilling relationship. For those who are dating or married, it can help you recognize the unique and incredible qualities that makes someone your person.


In God’s grace,


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