Essence Quality Differences and Resolution

Additional Information for Chapter 10, pages 157-160

On pages 157-160 in The Compatibility Code a discussion addresses the issue of resolving essence quality differences. These are also the 3 pages where we present the 12 scenarios, actually 6 pairs of scenarios in which one couple is able to resolve differences and the other couple is unable to do so. The contrasts are so instructive that, even though they appear in the book and in another prescript, I reproduce them below. Then discussion will follow.

Acceptable resolution achieved Acceptable resolution NOT achieved
1. Andre is a concert pianist and practices three to four hours a day. Ruby has little musical talent but supports his practice and performance schedule, spends time learning more about music, attends all his concerts, and makes every effort to be supportive of his growth as a musician. 1a. Marc is a concert pianist and practices three to four hours a day. Vanessa has little musical talent, finds his endless practice of scales and arpeggios slowly driving her crazy, suggests that he find somewhere else to practice, does not attend his concerts and makes little effort to understand Marc’s world.
2. Alicia is a researcher in the field of psychology; her partner, Garrick, is neither psychologically or mathematically inclined but reads her write-ups (despite some gaps of knowledge in the analysis sections), discusses with pleasure some of the findings, and develops a growing interest and awareness of her area of expertise. 2a. Amanda is a prominent Ph.D. physicist who takes ultimate pleasure in researching the mysteries of the universe. She is dating a handsome hunk with the IQ of a cabbage. The hunk does not have the resources to ever appreciate the brilliant mind (and hence the world) of his partner.

 

3. A young couple discusses having children. Karla grew up in a warm, nurturing home and wants several children; Daniel was an only child and would actually prefer to have no children. He has never particularly enjoyed the mini-critters but decides to assist in the local elementary school once a week and discovers a growing fascination with the little tykes. Eventually he grows to the point that a family with children is something he realizes he can embrace and enjoy. 3a. Ellie wants children, Allen doesn’t. Because he loves Ellie he tries the same trick as his innovative counterpart, Daniel. In every contact with young ‘uns he realizes how incompatible his nature is with the smelly, clamoring, noisy little brats. He finds himself unable to embrace a marriage that involves devoting 20-25 years of his life to bringing them up.

 

4. Anna is an agnostic who has little interest in spiritual things. Paul is a deeply committed Christian. Both want children and realize that the spiritual contrast would not be good for their family. Anna knows that Paul is not going to give up or seriously alter his beliefs so she begins to study with the local pastor, reads books like C. S. Lewis’Surprised by Joy, begins to attend church with Paul, and eventually nurtures her spiritual side into a full commitment that integrates into Paul’s spiritual world. 4a. Susie is an agnostic who has little interest in spiritual things. Silas is a deeply committed Christian. Susie knows that Silas is not going to give up his spiritual beliefs. In spite of efforts on Susie’s part to nurture a spiritual perspective she finds herself hardening into atheism and an increasing antagonism toward those associated with religion.

 

 

5. Pam is a party animal who enjoys an active social life and derives energy when around other people. Dudley enjoys people but is quieter and prefers one-on-one contacts. He typically finds the party setting pointless and eventually tiring. However, Dudley is genuinely eager to become more social and Pam realizes that she would benefit by a reduction of her party fever-which has often gotten her into trouble in the past. Even with persistent effort, there is never a match of sociability, but Dudley learns to enjoy the occasional party, becomes genuinely more interested in social interactions and Pam learns to enjoy some of Dudley’s quieter joys. 5a. Frizzle is a party animal who enjoys an active social life and derives energy when around other people. Marvin enjoys people but is quieter and prefers one-on-one contacts. He finds the party setting often pointless and eventually tiring. Frizzle’s social activities are very important to her, her parties much too much fun to consider change. Marvin by contrast finds most parties a torment and no effort can shift that perspective. Even though they love each other, they eventually realize that an integrated life is not possible.

 

 

6. Anthony is a triathlete who pursues his obsession with fierce determination and crams two hours a day into training despite a full time job. His wife, Elly, was a rower in her college days and pursued the sport for several years beyond graduation. Despite the different sports, she understands the fascination with achievement and the daily grit and discipline required for success. Elly herself pursues an active lifestyle, runs and bikes with her husband from time to time and attends and supports him during his three or four competitive efforts each year. 6a. Gunther is a triathlete who pursues his obsession with fierce determination and crams two hours a day into training despite a full time job. His partner, Michelle, has never pursued athletics (or any other keen passion for that matter), cannot comprehend how anyone could be so obsessed with such a pointless activity, is terminally unfit herself and has no interest either in participating with him or going to his competitions.

Magnitude of difference

If two people really love each other the general sensation is that no obstacle is too great to overcome. But emotions cannot mask foundational differences. It reminds me a little of my 15-year old daughter who feels so intensely that she is going to be an actress. The thought that races through my mind is that the intensity of her certainty will be entirely pointless if she does not spend the thousands of hours necessary to become outstanding in that particular skill. The reality is that no matter how much she wants if she lacks the necessary skill (not to mention opportunity and luck) it won’t happen. She has signed up for a college class in acting and is now DOING what may yield the desired result.

Back to relationships: There are contrasts in which the gap is too big for a relationship to work—no matter how much the couple wants it. For a discussion of how much change is possible, it might be instructive to go to the Chapter 8 prescript Disqualifiers/already in a relationship. While the subject matter deals with issues that may include essence quality mismatches, the focus of the discussion is about disqualifiers in relationships. Never the less the discussion may prove useful.

So how do you know if the gap is too large? We reproduce a list from Chapter 11 of The Compatibility Code dealing with Red Flags. Then we consider how large a percentile difference would yield varying levels of challenge for resolution. Confused? The chart is really quite simple.

Contrast Approximate difficulty of resolution

(Measured in percentile gap except for IQ)

easy

moderate

challenging

impossible

Intelligent vs. unintelligent (IQ-point gap)

0-15

15-25

25-40

>60

High strung vs. placid & laid back

0-20

20-40

40-60

>80

extraverted vs. introverted

0-25

25-55

55-75

>90

Low psychic metabolism (low energy) vs. high psychic metabolism (high energy)

0-20

20-30

30-50

>70

Extraordinary talent/ accomplishment) vs. ordinary abilities/accomplishments

0-20

20-30

30-40

>60

Ambitious vs. content with status quo

0-20

20-30

30-50

>70

Attractive vs. unattractive

0-15

15-25

25-40

>50

Cultured vs. barbarian

0-20

20-30

30-50

>70

Spiritual vs. unspiritual (or different styles of spirituality)

0-10

10-20

20-30

>50

Philosophical vs. frivolous

0-10

10-20

20-30

>50

Risk taker vs. obsessed with safety

0-10

10-20

20-30

>50

Commitment to vigorous personal growth vs. content with the status quo

0-10

10-20

20-30

>50

Visionary vs. lives in the moment

0-10

10-20

20-30

>50

Scrupulously honest vs. morally flexible

0-10

10-20

20-30

>50

Wealth-acquisition mindset vs. poverty mindset

0-10

10-20

20-30

>50

Neat and organized vs. slovenly and disorganized

0-20

20-30

30-50

>70

Logical thinker vs. emotional, reactive thinker

0-10

10-20

20-30

>40

Couch potato vs. physically active

0-20

20-30

30-50

>70

Regular exercise regimen vs. none

0-20

20-40

40-60

>80

Involved in service outreaches vs. pursues only personal pleasuring

0-20

20-30

30-40

>60

Argumentative Andy vs. non-confrontational Carla

0-20

20-30

30-40

>60

Back packer Bert vs. five-star-hotel-connoisseur Connie

0-20

20-30

30-50

>70

Frugal Freddy vs. shop-‘til-you-drop Shelley

0-10

10-20

20-30

>40

OK, now that I have finished the chart, I have decided that it does require some explaining.

  • What do all the numbers mean? For all but the difference in intelligence the numbers represent a percentile gap.For intelligence it is IQ-point gap.For instance for easy resolution we suggest an IQ difference smaller than 15 points.This might be a couple that contrasts, 140-125 or 105-90 or 125-110 or 160-145.Impossible resolution is a 60 point gap might be represented by 180-120 or 160-100, or 140-80, or 120-60.All the rest are measured with a percentile gap.Take introversion/extroversion.We suggest easy resolution with a 25 point gap.This might be represented by contrasts for each partner ranking on the following percentile scale: 85-60, 45-20, 95-70, 35-10.The gap we list as impossible (>90) might be 95-5, 99-10, 90-1 (percentiles don’t use 0s or 100s).
  • What do we mean by “impossible”? There are existing marriages with gaps in the “impossible” category.But I ask, “At what cost?” What is meant by “impossible” in this context, is that although it is legally possible for people with such a gap to marry, a successful satisfying marriage is impossible.It will result in either parallel lives or constant antagonism or frustration.
  • What if people change? If there is change in one or both individuals then they may shift into a different percentile-gap category.Interpret accordingly.
  • What is your source of information for the numbers that are listed?Pulled right out of my own fertile imagination.This is not an untrained imagination, however.It is based on many years of teaching, research, and clinical experience.If you don’t like my numbers, write in your own if that will make you happy.Notice that there is considerable variation on the percentile gap for the impossible category.Those differences reflect knowledge gained from a career as a psychologist.
  • What about the difference between the highest number listed for “challenging” and the number listed for “impossible”? Notice that for introversion/extroversion the challenging category is listed as percentile contrasts or 55-75 points.Then we list >90 as impossible.How about a 75 to 90 point gap?This is classed as a gray area, in all but the most extraordinary of cases, impossible.
  • Your contrasts are not all associated with essence qualities. You are correct.But the dynamic of determining compatibility is very similar whether essence qualities or other important personal characteristics.

Now that you understand, go back and look over the chart again.

Willingness to Change

The chart at the beginning of this prescript (contrasting six pairs of scenarios) provides excellent examples associated with willingness to change. In each of the six successful resolutions, there was considerable effort on the part of the adapting partner (that is, the partner who did not have a particular essence) to make changes to better integrate with their partner.

Let’s be crass and business like and suggest a costs-benefits analysis is often appropriate. This means that you weigh the difficulty of the required change with how much you want the relationship to work. If “change” wins out then you go about implementing that change. If “it’s not worth the effort” wins out, we hope that you’re not married to the person and can exit the relationship without long-range consequences.

It is equally important to realize that willingness to change is not the only factor. The previous section documents that some changes are impossible. In our pairs of scenarios the contrast of IQ-challenged Amanda and the Ph.D. physicist represents the only impossible change. Nothing known to current medical of psychological research can bridge a gap that large.

Maturity of the Couple

The 12 contrasting scenarios also provide a pretty good perspective on the influence of the maturity of the individuals involved. Two of the unsuccessful scenarios represent an extraordinary level of immaturity: Vanessa who made no effort to understand Marc’s world or music and Michelle who is too shallow to have any comprehension of someone who works hard to achieve something (Gunther’s interest in triathlon in this case).

Maturity cannot conquer all, however. Allen, who attempted to develop a love for children and Susie who attempted to develop the spiritual side of her nature were both unsuccessful despite mature, focused efforts at change. Even the unfortunate party animal, Frizzle, does not exhibit immaturity. She simply acknowledges that curbing her extroverted tendencies is not worth continuation of the relationship.

Don’t mistake maturity for self-sacrifice. Self-sacrifice might be a fine quality in a number of settings, but in marriage there needs to be a positive dynamic of energy between the two partners. If that dynamic is not possible, then the mature thing is to break off the relationship. It is not a good relationship in which one partner systematically gives in to the other partner.

Jesus said, “Judge righteous judgment.” We might adapt that to say, “Make wise choices.”

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