TL;DR: Disagreement is completely normal in a relationship, but it can be disastrous if you two have completely different worldviews. If you fit together like puzzle pieces, then the rest gets easier.
The title of this story is a bit of an exaggeration, and maybe you and your partner shouldn’t be together if your worldviews are about as similar as Barack Obama’s and Dick Cheney’s.
Honestly, I had that “maybe we’re not meant to be” feeling sometime after Phillip and I started dating, as I’ve written before. At our relationship’s genesis, I thought he and I were so different that I could have sworn our relationship was going to crash and burn like Armageddon.
Why? Because he likes heavy metal music, and I grew up on oldies but goodies. Because he likes dark sci-fi and post-apocalyptic movies, and I like dumb comedies and silly superhero movies (and it always took movie-length time for us to agree on a movie to watch). Because we could never agree on a place to visit abroad. Because my dad always opened doors for my sister and me like a butler does for his master, and that wasn’t really Phillip’s thing. Because he snores, sleep talks, and stomps his 6’4″ frame to the bathroom at night, and I’m a light sleeper (and had to get used to ear plugs and sleeping masks, because even our nocturnal tendencies disagreed with each other).
It doesn’t stop there. I thought our relationship was going to dissolve like the characters in Avengers: Infinity War because I grew up seeing my parents liking the same things and doing everything together like conjoined twins. They listened to the same country and folk music. They both like sci-fi and fantasy books and movies. They always had something to talk about at dinner. These days, they like taking their daily walks together (ah, the retired life).
I saw a lot of homogeneity between them, so I thought that was the “right” relationship model growing up. Yet I hardly paid attention to their unique attributes and what they did separately, such as my dad’s woodworking and my mom’s quilting.
So, flip back to Phillip and me. He and I are still here, nearly five years later. Neither of us has strangled the other in their sleep. Neither of us has poisoned the other’s drink. We’ve been to hell and back, conflict-wise, yet neither of us had to change the other like Bob Ross changed “mistakes” into birds on a canvas. How did we get here with very different preferences?
As with life, a relationship is a marathon, not a sprint. Marathons provide the test of time to get to know your partner. So, hopefully you’ve found someone who complements you like a puzzle piece instead of being the opposite (or same) sex version of yourself.
Over time, I learned that Phillip was my complementary puzzle piece, and if he had been the opposite sex version of myself, chaos would likely ensue. (I’ve met whom I would consider the opposite sex version of myself, and while I think he and I have chemistry, I don’t think we have long-term compatibility.) You need balance and diversity to make this world go ‘round.
Anyway, everyone has their own love story, which means that relationship advice can’t always be “one size fits all.” Certified life coaches know that. So, when you and your partner disagree 99 percent of the time, here’s what you can do to get on the same page:
- Accept your dissimilarities
- Agree to disagree
- Find common ground
- Find win-wins
- Compromise when it’s necessary
- Be open-minded to each other’s preferences
Yes, this is roughly how Phillip and I (and many other couples) got here after many, many months.
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