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Last Friday, I came across this lovely old couple who were heading out for grocery shopping. I’m sure both of them must be in their 70s and they looked happy. They were relaxed, busy with their own phones and then shared a laugh every now and then. It put a smile on my face. It’s always nice to see an old couple still having that spark in their relationship. I  messaged my husband. I said that looking at the couple made me want to work towards maintaining that spark with him, even after 40 years. He sent a smiley and said, yes we will, and we should work towards it. 

There is something magical about seeing an old couple in love. Even after all these years, their hearts did seem to beat for each other. ‘How lucky!’, I thought. 

My brain, which was allowing my heart to experience the love that I was witnessing, stopped me and asked – ‘Lucky? What’s luck go to do with any of this?’ I re-read what my husband said. He was right. Good things don’t happen to you because you are lucky, it happens to you because you work towards it. We work for many things in life – developing values, building a career, keeping our family happy, earning the respect of those around us and many more. Among everything, I’ve felt that people don’t give relationships the time, efforts and priority it deserves. It’s funny because almost everything we work towards involves people. But they always seem to take a backseat because people are different. What works with one person would not work for the other. Each one of us is different and that’s perhaps what makes all relationships challenging.

Which brings me to my question – are people compatible? 

My husband and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary last month. I married someone I knew (or I thought I knew). I thought my life would be better because I felt it would be easy to work with someone I’ve known for a while. I was flying in the clouds after we got married and the bubble burst when we started living together. 

Boy, how wrong I’d been! 

They say you get to know someone only after you start living with them. There is the illusion that you know what you’ve signed up for. And then, there is reality – about 5000 miles south of your expectations. It took us some time, but we were able to establish a system and a process (an occupational hazard of a business analyst!) that worked for us. We communicated with each other, let the other person know what was non-negotiable and worked out a compromise for the other stuff. It helped that my husband and I share a lot in common, but we needed that space away from each other once in a while to maintain our sanity. We are still a work-in-progress but we’ve come a long way from where we started. 

Are we compatible? Erm, I don’t know. 

Do we make an attempt to be at peace when we’re around each other? Definitely!

When it comes to other relationships – friends, parents, and family – I’m sure the same rule applies. No two people are inherently compatible. Everyone has a different upbringing in different environments, surrounded by different people. So, it is not surprising that we have perspectives, differences of opinions. It might seem overwhelming but we do have the knack to spot a similarity. A common interest is all that we need to develop a bond. There are acquaintances with whom you *have* to get along with. And then there are people you are fond of because of a shared interest. The affection for the person overcomes everything else that might annoy you. After a while, when you’re done sharing your interests, the real challenge begins. It all depends on how much you’re willing to learn about the other person, spend time, and work towards maintaining the rapport.

Yes, I say work- because any relationship – friends, parents or your partner – needs work. Hard work. It doesn’t just happen. You have to invest your time and efforts it in and give it the respect it deserves. It feels good to see people post photos with their partner, friends, and families and they might make it look like they happened to be lucky. But they don’t tell you that behind the scenes, they worked and spend time to put a smile on the other person’s face. A smile not just for the face, but all the way from their hearts. 

So, can you improve your compatibility with people around you? Of course, if you know to sort out your priorities, spend time and if you’re willing to work towards it. 

Image Courtesy: Pixabay