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If you’re looking for someone with whom you could build a life-giving, lifelong marriage, you want to discern the answer to the question, “Are you compatible?

That said, while sharing compatibility is essential in core areas of identity, sharing differences in personality, tastes, and perspective can make a relationship come alive.

That is, if you know how to get along with such differences.

Do you?

That’s what we discuss in the LoveEd video above.

To Know if You’re Compatible You have to Get to Know Them

Now for the fun stuff. Find out what the person you’re dating is interested in. And just as importantly, what they aren’t interested in.

  • Career, work, and education
  • Food: cooking, baking, and eating
  • Movies, shows, recreation, and sports
  • Art, music, and poetry
  • Health and fitness
  • Faith, theology, and church
  • Travel, hobbies, and fashion
  • Books, podcasts, blogs, and vlogs

As you discover what your date is interested in, here are some questions you can use to learn more about your date:

  • How did you come to be involved in [insert interest here]?
  • With whom have you most often shared [insert interest here]?
  • What are some fun/meaningful/favorite memories of enjoying [insert interest here]?
  • What challenges have you overcome as you have pursued [insert interest here]?
  • What future aspirations do you have for [insert interest here]?

Beware of Focusing on Common Interests

Like in any relationship, you will naturally gravitate toward interests you share with your date, and for the first date or two, that is an effective and comfortable way of getting to know someone.

However, there is a danger in keeping your conversation centered on common interests. Here are six in particular:

  1. You keep the conversation more self-focused, as you only talk about the interests you share with your date.
  2. You keep yourself from learning new things.
  3. You miss the chance to see how open your date is to learning new things themselves (or how self-focused they may be).
  4. You can acquire an inaccurate picture of your date if one or more of their greatest interests differ from your shared interests.
  5. You can project an inaccurate picture of yourself if one or more of your own greatest interests differ from your shared interests.
  6. You can both be misled to believe you’re more compatible than you really are because you never explore your differences.

In short, focusing on common interests is good for getting to know someone as an acquaintance or even as a casual friend (which is what you are doing in the earliest stages of a dating relationship), but it is an inadequate way of getting to know someone as a potential life partner.

The Goal Is Not to Make the Relationship Work

If you see the purpose of dating as growing a friendship that might lead to a life-giving, lifelong marriage, then you need to find out if your relationship can really work long-term.

But what many are tempted to do is work hard to make the relationship work. Working to make a relationship work is different from seeking to find out if it can work.

I’m not saying it doesn’t take work to make a relationship … ah … work. It always does, because intimate relationships require personal growth, selflessness, compromise, communication, repentance, forgiveness, and a bunch of other things which require work.

However, many a desperate dater will bend over backward to do what their partner wants, converse about what their partner cares about, and even be who their partner wants them to be. Until they get married.

Then they just want to be themselves. This is a recipe for disappointment at best, disaster at worst. So why not discover early on if you really enjoy being around each other. This means two things:

  1. Let go of the insecurity that comes from wanting to be liked, accepted, and approved, and find out if your date will like, accept, and approve of you even if they don’t share your interests.
  2. Let go of the need for the relationship to work out, and find out if you can genuinely enjoy the person you’re dating, even if you don’t share their interests.

More than simply enjoying each other in spite of your inevitable differences, discover if you can actually enjoy your differences. In a healthy relationship, differences can make each of you more interesting, as it broadens each of your horizons.

[The above post is an excerpt right from Date Like You Know What You’re Doing: Your DatePrep Guide. I wrote it to empower YOU to grow spiritually and date wisely so you can marry well. Check out the book and video curriculum here!]