Overcoming Incompatibility

Incompatibility is now the basis for many divorces. The real reason for most divorces is a lack of commitment, not a lack of compatibility.

As explained in our last post, compatibility isn’t based on temperament or personality. We are all incompatible!

Think about who a person should be most compatible. Really, we should be most compatible with a sibling of the same gender. We were raised with the same background, similar experiences, same values, similar genetic make-up, and the lack of gender differences.

But is that the person that you would be most compatible? Most people would say “No!”

If we are not consciously working on a harmonious relationship in marriage, we will always be incompatible!

Dave Willis, a Christian author and pastor, shares the story about a friend of theirs who got a divorce. Later, she went on a dating website and entered her information. The person that came up as being the most compatible was her ex-husband!

The harmony of marriage doesn’t come from having the same likes/dislikes or enjoying the same activities.

People who consider themselves incompatible often sight relationship conflicts.

Their incompatibility comes from a lack of communication, from not being able to resolve conflict, and/or not showing respect and value to the other person. Two people will always have disagreements and annoyances in marriage.

Compatibility in marriage is about how you manage those differences.

“The similarities or personality traits that attract people to each other may not hold up over time. You might be attracted to someone because you both love to ski, but then one of you blows out a knee. When people are divorcing, they'll say, "We have nothing in common." But they have kids, a house and 30 years of shared experience. Values about money and children run very deep and are important. The surface ones—antiques, sports, travel and gourmet coffee—don't matter.” William J. Doherty

Composing Harmony.....

How do we get to a place of harmony in marriage?
  • Respect your differences, instead of criticizing the other person. 
  • Value the other person’s opinion and input. 
  • Assume good will. Look for the best in each other, instead of assuming a negative attitude. 
  • Communicate in a healthy way. If you don’t know how, make it a priority to learn. 
  • Resolve conflicts that need to be resolved. Agree to disagree about the others. 
  • Recognize that there is more than one right way to do things. Different isn’t wrong. Make allowances for differing personal habits. 
  • Focus on trying to truly understand your spouse’s point of view, their thoughts, instead of trying to prove that you are right. 
  • Seek to put the needs and desires of your spouse before your own needs and desires. 
Conceit is incompatible with understanding.
Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy


People can sing in unison or in harmony.
Harmony gives room for all individuals to express their gifts.
They play or sing different, harmonious notes at the same time.
In music, harmony gives beauty.

Marriage is the same.

Some people think that compatibility means that you are alike. No, compatibility means that you are not alike but that you can live in harmony.

Living in harmony means that ...
...We live in agreement.
...We are like-minded, even though we are not alike. 
...There is an appreciation for the gifts of the other person. 
...We have a rhythm in our marriage.

This compatibility and harmony in marriage isn’t present naturally. You do not go into marriage with it. It does not come from having the right personality traits.

Compatibility is what you create. You grow into that harmony.

H. Norman Wright, a Christian leader in the marriage movement, says that it takes 5-10 years to learn to be compatible!

For some of us, it might take 10-20 years!!!

To have harmony with another person, we start with harmony with God. I am in agreement with the will of God. I live consistently with what He desires.

To be in agreement with His will, I have to know His will. I know His will by knowing Him through His Word and prayer.

I seek to play my part in life and in marriage in harmony with the other players and with Him. I follow His direction as He conducts the arrangement of His Body. 

Harmony in the Spirit ….

Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instrument afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into harmony with Him.  Hudson Taylor

God wants us to live in harmony with Him first and in harmony with others. He gives us His Spirit to help us.

May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.  Romans 15:5 (NLT)

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:16 (NIV)

Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace.  2 Corinthians 13:11 (NLT)