Marriage and Compatability

This is the season of weddings. Weddings are some of my favorite things to do as a pastor, so every year I over-extend myself with premarital counseling and weddings.

Weddings are big business, if you hadn't noticed. There are thousands of new books, conferences, and online resources that promise to help you figure out whether or not you're compatible as a couple and to build a healthy marriage on that. Eharmony touts its success based on 29 "dimensions" of compatibility.

Although I know some great couples who have benefited from some of those resources, I really think the idea of compatibility in marriage is bunk.

I've never met a married or engaged couple who was compatible.

He's a guy, she's a girl = instant incompatibility. Compound that with different backgrounds, different gifts and talents, and a sinful selfish tendency inside every one of us, and you just don't ever have compatible couples. They don't exist.

The good news is, I believe that incompatibility, not compatibility, is what makes a good marriage. Living-out the selfless sacrificial love that's commanded in Ephesians 5 demands (by definition) people who aren't compatible. You can't sacrificially love someone who is "perfect for you." You can't be voluntarily selfless (submit) to someone who "completes you."

The point of the Gospel is that we were incompatible with God because of our sin and His holiness. Because of His love for us He chose to meet our need(s) anyway despite the cost to Himself. Scripture sets that up as the model for a successful marriage, and it demands two people who are not compatible.


Joe said...

I don't know...I think Shari and I are very compatible. We both think that I'm pretty wonderful!

Kim said...

I love this post.