For me, compatibility for marriage is when the two people are human beings, when they are male and female and when they choose to become one unit. How compatible are you two when it comes to religious faith, finances, family background?

At the end of the day, compatibility in marriage could simply mean how flexible you guys are on all these key issues.

The main thing that determines compatibility is Flexibility. So, those that are very flexible when it comes to religious faith, where the man is of one religion and the woman is of another can have an awesome marriage. I mean, I have people around me where wife and kids are Christians and Husbands – Muslims! And I have never heard of any drama from them. Are they religiously compatible? Yes, of course! Why? Because when it comes to religion, they are very flexible!

“What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.” -George Levinger

I am from a nuclear family (now a step family as a result of my mom’s death and dad’s remarriage). My wife is from divorced parents, I am Edo and she is Benue. I am a bit light-skinned and she is dark-skinned. I am a lawyer and she is an Early Year Child Educator. I grew up in a village, now town. I grew up poor and she grew up having a TV, telephone and cars. I grew up as a tenant and she grew up as a landlord. I grew up being able to discuss everything with my parents and she grew up not daring that. She wanted to be a Reverend Sister at one time. Although my dad is a pastor, I never wanted anything to do with ministry. I started being enterprising before I was 10. She earned her first profit maybe after graduation. I started paying for things I wanted early. She started paying for her things in NYSC. With this brief history, are we both compatible?

You are as compatible with each other as you choose to. Your compatibility is nothing but how each of you chooses to blend into the other. The people who are not compatible are those who are die-hard about particular things that their partners are also die-hard about. So that a couple could be compatible with five things but not compatible in the sixth thing. Eg, we can both be Christians and yet not be compatible with spiritual matters. I mean, we would even attend the same church and yet, believe and practice different things.

“A marriage, like any other relationship, can be as good as both of the people involved are willing to make it.” -Leo & Susie Presley

Being humans, if we choose to be adaptable and flexible with others, we would definitely become compatible with them. Some people look at the history of the individuals to determine compatibility. And hey, that’s great! But then, I look at flexibility.

My wife had an AC in her room growing up. However, It is today – almost one year of our marriage that I’m going to buy the fan for our bedroom. She could have as well said we weren’t financially compatible. Wifey wears sneakers a lot; I, on the other hand, I’m ‘Mr. Ankara’ (as my teenagers call me). She could have said we aren’t compatible when it come to fashion and the likes. But here is flexibility. Today, I dress to her taste a lot. 75% of the time, she chooses what I wear. Just as she has changed for me, I have changed her too. Part of my marriage creed says, “…Suitable and Adaptable to…” As long as the other person is a human and of the opposite sex, the person is ordinarily suitable and compatible for marriage.

The question then becomes how adaptable is the person. How much can you adapt (being flexible) to each other? Once upon a time, couples were betrothed. Once upon a time, ladies were taken as slaves and sold into marriage. Some were won as prizes! How come the marriages worked? Simple, they were flexible, adaptable and that made them compatible. So, without revelation, prophecy etc, Rebecca agreed and married Isaac that she had never met. Flexibility and adaptability!!

Compatibility, therefore, means the flexibility to easily reach an agreement and stick to it for the good of the union.

The reason why our parents may fight our relationship and our pastors may do the same is because they may not see the person as being suitable for us. However, we all usually miss the adaptability. I don’t think Laurie was suitable for FEB Idahosa. He is black and she is white! But she has now adapted herself to suit him. What breaks marriage isn’t that they weren’t suitable to each other, they just failed to be flexible and adapt. That’s why one couple survives something and another couple doesn’t survive the same thing.

Compatibility is therefore being on the same page regarding major matters of life, especially on issues like money, Sex, Spiritual matters, parenting, etc

Till date, my wife and I still don’t agree about some things. But because those things are not core, or major, it doesn’t shake anything. I would sometimes want my wife to wear a gown to church. She would say it’s too short for church. Maybe that’s why I love the gown sef. But her refusal to wear it is not major enough for me to get vexed and leave her at home or not sit by her in church. Or even lust on another girl sef. For even if she wore it, that other girl would still have worn her own. So it’s no excuse. It’s not core!

I don’t want you to use my wife and I as your standard, but you can. For us, we have about 5 couples we try to model after regarding different things. In my house, my wife has only two tasks; Give me sex and cook! She has never mopped. If she has ever swept, maybe twice. I do the laundry and that included the panties that she menstruated on (when we had no washing machine). No matter what others are saying or doing in their house, na dem sabi!! This na my house. But you can shout up and down. If my wife is at home, she would do the cooking. Scream all you like, I don’t think I have cooked for her more than 5 times, unless to make eba! But you see, washing plates, mopping the kitchen, taking out the trash, picking the veggies and blending tomatoes are my work (all these facts are as at the time of writing this piece).

This prototype cannot work for some other couples simply because they are not flexible in that area. My friend cooks for his wife. My father, as at today, even when my wife and sister are in the house, still cooks for all of us. Hey, I know how to cook. I can and even fry garri but in my house, I have decided not to be flexible in that area! So if tomorrow my not cooking causes a problem, would it be because we aren’t compatible or because I choose not to be flexible?

Someday, your relationship and marriage will require you to be flexible and adaptable (for you are already suitable, being humans and of the opposite sex). When that time comes, will you choose to be a dry bonga fish that cannot bend or you would choose to adapt for the purposes of your marriage?

Question: In your opinion sir, what do you think are the core issues partners must at least be flexible about in order to have a good marriage?

 Earl Alright: There are things that require flexibility. Others require agreement.

First, change is constant. The core things that a couple have to be on the same page on, are; In-laws, Money, Parenting, God, Domestic Responsibility/Chores, which city to live etc.