When I was a teenager, my mom bought me the book Finding the Love of Your Life: Ten Principles for Choosing the Right Marriage Partner by Neil Clark Warren. In the middle of the book, there is a list of fifty helpful marriage similarities. Some of the items on the list are no brainers, such as views about alcohol, smoking, and drugs. However, a few items on the list were things I would not have thought up on my own….
For example, he listed temperature of home during day and night. This is not something commonly mentioned in pre-marital counseling – at least not the counseling which I have seen or experienced, but it is a very real issue in marriage (and as a result, is something we are sure to cover in the premarital counseling we do). If a couple is comprised of a petite lady and a bear of a man and you put them in the same house, there are likely to be multiple thermostat wars.
Another item Warren listed was television programs preferred. This may not seem like a big deal, but in many marriages it does come up. If he likes nothing but reality shows and she likes sitcoms, a few things may happen. First, they may fight over who gets the remote control: to watch what and when. The couple may go into separate rooms and watch what each want to watch or they might get a DVR (which did not exist when Warren wrote the book). Even though liking different TV shows may not cause some couples to argue (for others, it certainly will), it is a plus to have things in common. We can watch what each of us like apart from the other person, but it’s nice to watch programs together instead of running separate lives. Eric and I don’t have cable (and have little desire to get it), so we watch Hulu. There are a number of shows we enjoy watching together and I look forward to the down time with him.
Warren states the following while discussing similarities and differences in marriage: “One of the most important principles to follow in choosing a mate revolves around a highly established reality: Stable and satisfying marriages usually involve two people who are very much alike.” Our society wants to be completely romantic about marriage, but there are realities that should not be ignored when considering a marriage partner. The more you have in common, the easier your marriage will often be.
Warren tells us to look at every similarity as an asset and every difference as a debt. If you and your future spouse have $350 in the bank, and $150 in debt, it may be aggravating, but you have enough money to easily cover the debt. If you have $100 in the bank, and $500 in debt, it is not likely that you will stay afloat for very long.
Other helpful areas to match Warren listed are: formal education attained, sense of humor, amount of income to be spent and saved, type of furniture and decorations preferred, and when to go to sleep and get up. These are just a few of his list. I would recommend checking out the list in its entirety in his book or by finding a similar list online. Ultimately, having strong similarities will help your future marriage.
For anyone considering marriage, the book is full of helpful information. If you have not met a potential spouse yet, this is also an excellent book for you as it focuses on preparing for marriage before the season comes.
If you are considering marriage with your current boyfriend/girlfriend, what similarities have you found that you share and what differences have you encountered? How have these affected your relationship thus far?