WIFE SPEAK: Sorry, you were never meant to be compatible

Different couple

Just marry yourself if you want compatibility. The wonder of creation is that there is no one else on this planet who is like you. 

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Just marry yourself if you want compatibility. The wonder of creation is that there is no one else on this planet who is like you. You are so unique that even your thumbprint is different from the estimated 117billion humans who have ever inhabited this planet since its formation.

So, why would you expect your spouse to be like you, think like you, behave like you and be compatible with you? Might you have understood the Biblical precept of two becoming one to mean that your spouse would morph into you?

The dictionary definition of compatibility is ‘Two things able to exist or occur together without problems or conflict.’ That, ladies, and gentlemen already rule out marriage as a compatible union. The very differences are our biggest attraction to each other. Problems creep in when we now expect our spouse to be like us, compatible with us.

While training on gender inclusivity, I was intrigued to learn that the differences we have as men and women are biological and are meant to be complimentary, to strengthen the relationships we have with each other and not meant to be limitations. It is only the social constraints that create barriers, biases, and prejudices. The biological differences are to be celebrated because they make whole when complimented.


But who are humans? We perceive differences as a basis for discrimination. We end up with problems of our own doing, such as tribalism, sexism, ageism, racism, and childism – yes, children experience prejudice too, and so much more. Let me not even start on the discrimination that short people go through. The tall population coin such terms as ‘short man syndrome’ after the short populace develops anger issues based on the treatment we receive from these 5’6 plus humans. You would think they paid a premium for their extra inches.

Anyway, specifically in marriage, we get ourselves in all sorts of quagmires by preaching compatibility. In trying to be compatible, we are trying to make the other person alike to us. First, a man and a woman are fundamentally different from each other. From their brain functioning, and their whole biological wiring to their physical make-up and appearance.

Putting them together as a compatible whole is like chasing the wind. Not possible to achieve. However, when we consider these differences as complementary, then we begin to enjoy the beauty and the wonder of marriage.

I am scatter-brained, mostly, but my husband is those super organised humans who, as far as some of us are concerned, have no life outside the order. Our organised chaos is what attracted these types, and their cool calm collected order attracted us. In their neatness, we find grounding. In our scatterbrained, they find love and passion for life and creative energy.

Opposites will always attract. Like magnets, a power so effective that they are blinded to how incompatible they are. I love movies, theatrical arts, and long walks, and Hubby loves to lounge on a sofa watching political discourse. With a single google search, my image is splattered all over the web but you will not find a single picture of him, making me wonder whether I am married to a spy.

Even on the one thing we are both passionate about, road trips, we still fight about it. He likes to plan for a trip five months in advance. I love the impromptu. You know, the one you get up on a beautiful Saturday morning and ask, “Can we go somewhere today, for the weekend? Isiolo? Machakos?” When I see the look on his face, I quickly add, “I will fuel.”

“But we did not plan for that…” The argument starts. Planning takes off the fun, and somehow, something big always comes up on the day that we had chosen those months back. You get an invite to be the best couple in a family’s wedding lineup. Surely, that is not something that you can cancel. Or a dear friend is turning fifty. That’s a milestone. And they want you to facilitate some fun activities for the guests. Should I turn down that because we had planned to do a road trip?

We are far from compatible.

Karimi is a wife who believes in marriage. [email protected]


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