How does a relationship support what you see as a mission in life?

How does a relationship support what you see as a mission in life?

People assume compatibility as a baseline requirement, then want more. “I want him to fit in with my family and do all the things I love to do-and he should be sexy, and he should take me out to cool places.” I think you can have an even more fulfilling relationship if you respect each other’s worlds, and learn a little bit from each other. I always think of the phrase, “You’ve met your match.” You really do want someone who challenges and spars with you. -Nancy Slotnick, dating coach, founder of cablight

I recently asked myself: What would social science have to say to a matchmaker? Damn little. Measures of personality don’t predict anything, but how people interact does. Couples need to feel they are building something together that has meaning. This is the existential part. You must also connect emotionally. How much do you respond to each other’s bids for attention? Does your partner turn toward you with equal enthusiasm? You need to ask questions and constantly update your knowledge of one another. And you need the ability to hear your partner’s delight and take it in. -John Gottman, founder-director of the Relationship Research Institute, Seattle

The biggest reason people get divorced is they grow apart. I don’t see many marriages that can be saved, and I don’t know that it’s possible to save marriages. Counseling doesn’t work; by the time couples get to the lawyer, their positions are very hardened. -Raoul Felder, divorce lawyer who has presided over the dissolution of some 8,000 marriages

A couple needs to be within one standard deviation of each other in intelligence (10 points in either direction). -Neil Clark Warren, founder of eHarmony and creator of a questionnaire that attempts to match couples

Relationship skills, on the other hand, can always be improved, and they’ll help any two people-with any two personalities-to get along better

Personality is important, but no one really knows how to match personalities up. People are sometimes attracted to like personalities and sometimes to different ones. -Robert Epstein, Psychologist

If a man comes home late, his wife may get angry and ask, “Why didn’t you call?” Instead, she could say, “Honey, I was worried about you. Did something happen?” People must look for the best in each other. -Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, author of The Committed Marriage, and founder and president of Hineni, an organization fostering Jewish heritage

All couples disagree about the same things: money, sex, kids, time

There is no such thing as a compatible couple. So, it’s really about how you manage your differences. If there is chemistry, then the whole courtship is about convincing yourself and others that you could try these out you are compatible. But, really, you create compatibility. And then, eventually, maybe in 25 years, you will become soul mates. -Diane Sollee, founder and director, Coalition for ily and Couples Education

People might agonize and think; ‘Do we have the same likes and dislikes?’ But people are not aware of how powerful self-fulfilling prophecies are. We have expectations in a relationship, and we tend to make them come true. The most satisfied couples are those with overly rosy views of each other. -Lisa Diamond, assistant professor of psychology and gender studies, University of Utah

Sensitivity to the issue of compatibility may be in and of itself a sign of trouble. My research shows that there is no difference in the objective level of compatibility between those couples who are unhappy and those who are happy. But the unhappy ones think compatibility is important to a good marriage-but don’t think they have it. When people say, “We’re incompatible,” that usually means, “We don’t get along very well.” People overemphasize the effect of personality or values. And they underemphasize the extent to which easy, congenial temperaments aid marriages. -Ted Huston, psychology professor, University of Texas, who runs the PAIR project, a longitudinal study of married couples