Compatibility with regard to relationships is something I hardly ever hear about. Talks about it have been set aside for a very specific relationship type i.e. partnerships or what we call “love”. It’s for that reason, when you do hear about compatibility, it’s usually some selling point in a dating website commercial and that’s the breadth of it.

Compatibility, by nature, requires work. I personally believe partnerships should be entered into where compatibility is most natural because individuals compliment each other. Nevertheless, work will be necessary, after all, individuals are unique and complex. I reserve this prescription for partnerships because contrary to the “love” labels presumably reserved for partnership, blood, and close connections, love is basic and should be extended all. It is not love but a host of other considerations that should inform partnership. Efforts toward compatibility should therefore be a much more consistent feature of relationships all together.

Compatibility in practice however, is much the opposite. “Friendship” — a superficial label all its own — is a value ascribed to individuals based on compatibility, naming “friends” of those compatible and ascribing any one of several other equally superficial labels to define those who aren’t. Compatibility isn’t worked toward in “family” either because, for instance, there’s this false sense of love that accepts whatever may come. What should be worked out via dialogue is overstepped and unattended, vetoed, signed and sealed in blood, never pursuing understanding, electing instead to “accept”, tolerate or ignore.

The concept of compatibility could not be more foreign, however, than in parenting. Ironically, it could not be more necessary than there 1) For what it experientially teaches and 2) I’d argue it’s owed to a child (who, after all, did not ask to be here). If we accept compatibility as necessary in partnerships where two parties choose to become involved, I see it imperative in the parent-child dynamic where the parent (the party with the authority to most influence efforts toward compatibility), is the party responsible for the parent-child dynamic to begin with.

Incompatibility is the universal cause of revolutions. While thoughts morph over time and conflicting views are ever a feature of life in any age, incompatibility and more specifically a refusal to make strides toward compatibility, is what precipitates a revolution.

Achieving compatibility necessitates understanding. Compatibility by happenstance benefits the parties involved and no one else, as does the characteristization of love as being reserved for some and not others. The true nature of love and the true value of compatibility, are among a collection of subjects that have been completely distorted — presented as the exact opposite of what they truly are and with detrimental consequences. There is no shortage of a need for love, no such shortage for the need for understanding and consequently none for the need for compatibility. Working toward compatibility – acting out such understanding – is wisdom. And working toward compatibility, is an act of love.


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