Marriage Compatibility
7 Critical Areas to Evaluate

Marriage compatibility should be considered before you get into a serious relationship. Don't wait until you are emotionally and physically involved before you start logically evaluating the wisdom of such a union.

If you are in a relationship and it's heading toward marriage or if you are attracted to two people at the same time but don't know which one you should pursue, these 7 marriage compatibility categories will help guide you in making the right decision.

While it’s true that you need someone different to complement you, research findings are highly consistent that the most stable marriages are those involving two people with many similarities.

All similarities are assets but what similarities are most critical for marital happiness? These 7 categories will help you asses your marriage compatibility and provide great conversation in your courtship. Here are the areas which strengthen a relationship the most and contribute to the overall health of the marriage:

  1. Spiritual Beliefs

    It is imperative that you are not unequally yoked. This phrase comes from 2 Corinthians 6:14 which says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

    Being “equally yoked” is actually an agricultural term. It has to do with how two oxen are placed side by side to produce straight furrows. The oxen need to be the same size so one does not pull more weight than the other. If you’ve ever rowed a boat with someone else you’ll know that if one person is stronger than the other, you can start going in circles. Oxen can do the same thing if they are unequal in size and strength. Their time plowing will then be unproductive.

    That is how relationships work. If you’re not on the same page spiritually you’ll find yourself going in circles. In the words of Kieth Battle, the lead pastor at Zion Church, “Know who your Master is and what your mission is before you select your mate. If your mate cannot support your mission you’ll have a mess.”

  2. Values, convictions and interests
    Surprisingly, you both can be very strong Christians and yet have huge disagreements when it comes to how you live out your faith in daily life. This is why marrying someone from your particular denomination may not guarantee that you are equally yoked.

    For example, you may both be convicted that proper nutrition is important. But how far do you carry that when you’re on a tight budget – do you buy cheap, low nutrition foods or cut costs somewhere else? When you are traveling – do you pack a lunch or eat out? When you are with relatives and they serve something you believe is not healthy – do you politely decline or compromise because it’s a rare occasion? When you go to a theme park – do you indulge because “it’s part of the experience”? When someone offers your child candy, will you let them so you don't appear rude? There are dozens of values on which couples need to agree. This is a strong, fundamental issue that can cause great joy in a relationship if there is compatibility.

    Here are some other marriage compatibility questions under this heading to explore with your partner.
        - Do we agree upon the same standards in reading and music?
        - Do we have the same vision for what we want home life to be?
        - Do we have the same convictions on appropriate dress?
        - Do we have the same preferences for our recreation and amusement?
        - Do we have the same expectations for social relations?

  3. Children
    Do both of you love and desire to have children?
    Today, children are usually viewed as a burden and hindrance to happiness. However, when properly prepared for and trained, God can use your children to bless you with future happiness and support.

    Spare the arguments and hurt feelings down the road by making sure you both are on the same page in regards to when you want children, how many children, how you are going to respond if you cannot conceive, if you conceive unexpectedly and what kind of birth control (if any) you both feel comfortable using. This marriage compatibility question is one couples like to put off but it's important to address before you are committed for life.

    Is there agreement on ways of child discipline
    If parents are not in total agreement on how they will discipline their children, the children will become insecure and will begin to get what they want by pitting one parent against the other. Parents must agree on the standards they want their children to uphold and then design wise guidelines for them to follow in order to keep those standards. Both parents must be living examples of the behavior they want in their children and realize that discipline is not a periodic action but a growing relationship. Don't wait until you have children to discuss this marriage compatibility question.

  4. Finances
    Both parties need to agree on the handling of their finances. Explore this area carefully before marriage.
    Will you have full agreement on major purchases?
    Marriage essentially involves a surrender of personal rights for the benefit of each other. Neither the husband or the wife has the right to make major purchases without the full agreement of the other partner. Your money is their money (even if you feel like YOU earned it). You can no longer spend it however you please. Make a commitment to postpone spending until you both feel comfortable with the decision.

    Do you want to save money for the future or spend money and enjoy life to the fullest now?

    Do you want to take risks to multiply your savings, or would you rather invest slowly and surely?

     Are you generous with charities or do you want to save for your future only?

    These financial questions do not just deal with the beliefs or standards a person has, but their character. Are they self-controlled vs. self indulgent? Are they resourceful rather than wasteful? Are they thrifty instead of extravagant? Are they content instead of covetous? Will they show deference and meekness instead of rudeness and anger? Spending often tells you a lot about someone's character.

  5. Role Expectations
    When a man and a woman have compatible ideas about duties and responsibilities in the relationship and household, there will be greater marital harmony. It is essential to talk about this marriage compatibility question to clarify expectations before marriage.

    Do you have a traditional view of the male/female roles in the home?

    Do you have a nontraditional view of marriage roles?

    Is your idea of an equal partnership in marriage equivalent to an equal division of all the household chores?

    Do you both agree upon your areas of jurisdiction?

    Are you agreed on areas of self control in marriage?

    Many young men have the mistaken idea that all their physical desires will be fulfilled in their marriage. If this were true, married men would not be tempted by other women. The fact is that God never designed marriage to satisfy abnormal or perverted drives. There is always a need for self-control. Self-control is a part of genuine love. Love “…suffereth long…doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own…beareth all things….” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5,7)

    The statement, “anything goes in marriage,” is not only inaccurate but also very destructive. A husband must know when to abstain from physical relationships and how to express love and tenderness to his wife in nonphysical ways. There are certain activities that may be approved in our society but are physically, mentally, and spiritually damaging to each marriage partner and their marriage relationship.

  6. Communication
    Is there a plan to bring disagreements to a third party?
    There will be times when a husband and wife will have opposing viewpoints about important decisions or situations. These are times to earnestly seek the will of the Lord through a study of His word and times of prayer and fasting. If there is still disagreement, a wise and respected person of authority should be available for counsel. Normally, this could be the parents, the pastor or some other wise counselor. Discussing this marriage compatibility question and coming to an agreement on who to talk to will make the hopelessness that conflict can sometimes bring much more bearable.

    Verbal Intimacy – Both the husband and wife crave this. It is “conversation where each person feels accepted no matter what he or she says, reveals, explains, or feels. Complete openness to another human; absolute honesty that strips one of all pretension, posturing, and protection so that he can present himself naked and vulnerable to the other.” (Source

    Although it’s the stereotype that women want to talk more than men, it was discovered in the 1970’s that the most common thing men wanted from prostitutes was a listening ear. Phone sex callers crave someone to listen to them without judgment.” (same source)  Couples who enjoy the same amount of conversation will be more likely to feel a high level of comfort in the relationship.

  7. Character and Personality

    Energy Level - Different people have different energy levels. This energy discrepancy may surface in almost any area of life.  For example, when you have a day off, will one of you want to laze around the house while the other wants to go on a 10 mile bike ride? Is one of you going to hop out of bed whistling while the other wants to sleep in with the shades drawn? It’s important that you and your partner have the same level of “get-up-and-go.”

    Intelligence: If both individuals are similarly endowed intellectually, the marriage seems to have considerably less strain. Research indicates that when IQ scores are within the same general range, stability in marriage is more likely. It doesn’t matter so much how smart the partners are, but it does matter how close they are intellectually. Individuals of similar intelligence are able to communicate and understand one another more fully.

    Personal Habits - For a more satisfying union, consider the following habits and how compatible you are with your potential mate: punctuality, cleanliness, orderliness, dependability, responsibility, and weight management.
    o    Are you always on time for an appointment, or are you consistently late?
    o    Is your potential mate a meticulous housekeeper, or is that person messy?
    o    Do you enjoy rich chocolate cheesecake, or are you always on a diet?

    I hope these marriage compatibility questions have helped you further identify God's Timing in your relationship. May the Lord continue to guide you in your humble preparation for a Christian courtship and oneness in marriage. It may take time to work through these marriage compatibility questions. Don't assume you know what your boyfriend or girlfriend believes. Think of scenarios and listen to how they would handle them. 

    You can also use this game to evaluate your character and the character of your potential spouse! 

    Back to Marriage Compatibility

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