“The Wonder of Compatibility”
By Bill Schacht, MS, LCSW
They were just being served their salads as my 12 year old daughter, Hunter Rose, and I were being seated at our favorite Italian restaurant last Friday. I noticed them out of the corner of my eye sitting across from one another at a small, cozy table. I thought to myself, “What a sweet elderly couple,” as our waitress handed me a menu.
After we ordered, my eyes kept drifting to over to them. I figured them in their mid 70’s; Hunter Rose had them somewhat younger as we observed her sipping her white wine and him pouring his beer from bottle to glass. Her light blue, high collared, casual dress and his khaki pants with short sleeve, plaid shirt seemed to accentuate their age. They both were wearing bifocals, slid halfway down their respective noses. Both wore slim, gold wedding bands.
As we munched on our bread sticks, it was on my fourth look to their table that I realized they had not said a single word to one another. They were into their main course. Her eyes and focus were on the delicacies on her plate. She hardly looked up or at him. With each forkful of food he delivered to his mouth, he was people watching around the dining room and observing nature outside the nearby window. Their contrast in style was attention getting.
For the next 70 minutes and until our check was paid, there were many glances over to observe their continued, vigilant silence. They were still leisurely enjoying coffee and dessert as we headed for the exit.
On the drive home, we could not stop discussing and wondering how this couple, that we imagined had been married for numerous decades, preferred to experience their dinner date in quiet and without eye contact. We pondered how that worked for them. But, we both agreed that we had felt a strong unconditional love that flowed between them.
We asked ourselves, “What is the secret to compatibility over a lifelong marriage?” And, paradoxically, what causes the pleasurable compatibility that couples believe they have on their wedding day to vanish into divorce?
Why do so many couples throw the towel in when they seemingly have so much to build upon while others cherish and continue their commitment when they seem to have so little in common?
If asked, we would all say that couple “compatibility” is a necessary element of a successful long-term marriage. But, what exactly does that mean? How will we define it in our existing or future love relationship? How will we explain it to our dating children?
These questions call for…
Let’s take it upon ourselves as an Association to answer them. Go to the “Forum” accompanying this blog and share your thoughts what defines “compatibility” in a successful marriage relationship. And, weigh in on our new “Compatibility Poll.” We’ll share our combined wisdom on the subject with the world!