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Smart Dating and Jack Sprat

It has long been recognized that sometimes opposites attract. The Odd Couple. Iron and a magnet. Jack Spratt and his wife. Jack would never have gone down in history if he and his wife both preferred lean. And there would undoubtedly have been arguments about who got the most. But luckily they were perfectly matched by being opposites.

Much has been written about successful relationships being, at least in part, dependent on the couple being well matched in basic values, such as honesty, loyalty, trust and ethical behavior. There are also important but less lofty values such as respect, consideration and unselfishness to consider.

Successful relationships also depend on each partner satisfying the needs of the other. Needs may be hard to identify and only time will reveal them.
This is a good reason to take your time before you enter into a permanent relationship. You should know what your future spouse’s needs are as well as being sure yours are met.

Successful relationships, however, can be accomplished by opposites as well as equals. A dominant male and a passive female might be a good match. Two dominants or two passives might not be.

So if you are attracted to someone unlike yourself, don’t despair just be sure your values are similar, that you meet each other’s needs and it is not just a novelty to be with someone who is quite different from yourself.

If you and your spouse had a similar upbringing, you probably see life from somewhat the same perspective. You are matched in important values and may have similar goals and interests. Couples who are “well matched” in interests as well as values don’t usually show up in divorce court. They generally agree on the larger issues, have learned to compromise on the smaller issues, and, so have little to argue about.

Being well matched does not mean walking in goose step with each other. Life would be quite boring if it did. It means being in step on the important values which are the basics of a good marriage and tolerating with good humor the less important things, and knowing the difference. Values cannot easily be changed, but behaviors can.

Regardless of whether you and your spouse are opposites like Jack Sprat and his wife, or well matched, you can learn to separate the important from the unimportant before becoming too involved. And remember, in all relationships a compatible sense of humor not only makes life more fun but is a buffer against the more serious problems that arise .This is smart dating. Choose Wisely.

Copyright 2006 Robert T. Lewis

Robert T. Lewis, Ph.D.

Psychologist and Author of:

How Any Male Can Become A Super Dater