Mismatched couples

It’s easy to appreciate differences; it’s a lot more difficult to live with those differences day in and day out when you have the stressors of reality bearing down on you

Mismatch?521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Remember that couple from the Guinness Book of World Records who are separated in height by more than three feet? Remember how odd they looked together? Weird, right? How do they kiss? How do they dance? How do they, well...
you know? Don’t you ever look at a couple and question their compatibility just because they’re mismatched physically? One partner is extremely tall and thin, the other short and squat; one partner is frumpy and tousled, the other clean-cut and preppy; one partner is gorgeous, the other, well, not so much.
They say not to judge a book by its cover, and these couples may have an amazing relationship, but it’s difficult not to wonder how two people so mismatched found each other to begin with. Sometimes it’s not even something tangible, but merely two faces that just don’t look right together, or even just a “feeling.”
Sometimes it seems as though like is drawn to like: People who are in good shape tend to be drawn to other active people; people who care about their appearance tend to be drawn to other put-together people; and so on. Even brown-haired, brown-eyed people (or blond-haired, blue-eyed people, etc.) tend to be drawn to each other, which is why many successful couples often end up looking alike.
Other times it wasn’t the physical attributes that tipped me off, but conclusions I was able to draw after getting to know the couple. “The Bachelor” Sean Lowe is a meat-eating Texan, and his new fiancée is a vegan. Could their relationship succeed? Sure, why not? But it’s going to be difficult to have meals together. Not impossible, just difficult.
And we eat three meals a day so that means being faced with such difficulties multiple times daily.
Or a girl I know who is a Southern Baptist preacher’s daughter who met a third-generation Israeli pilot. They have not only religious differences to deal with but cultural ones too.
It’s easy to appreciate differences; it’s a lot more difficult to live with those differences day in and day out when you have the stressors of reality bearing down on you and each of you has a different way of handling it – not to mention different faiths on which you rely. And of course, when you have children, that adds an entirely new layer of decisions to make, which are easier to conquer together if you have more in common.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if a couple is physically mismatched if they are brought together by deeper commonalities. When a couple meets through channels in which their interests and hobbies take center stage – such as JDate – you get a couple that normally may not have found each other via instant physical attraction, but that actually has a much more solid foundation. Attraction is definitely a must, but that can grow as mutual respect and adoration grow. A Brandeis University study showed that Jewish couples who married based on commonalities had a lower rate of divorce than couples who married after falling in love at first sight. The formers’ romance grew and strengthened, while the latters’ dipped and flattened.
Anthropologist Helen Fisher says biological changes can be accredited as the reason couples who married due to attraction alone have a higher rate of divorce – because their bodies build up a tolerance to the chemicals that caused the initial feelings of love. Whether or not you believe in that approach, looks do eventually fade, and you will be left with only conversation and commonalities.
If you have more than just instant attraction, you can rely on what you have in common, such as Judaism, to keep you together. That doesn’t mean chemistry isn’t important, because it is, but if you feel at least some sense of attraction to your mate, then allow that attraction to build before you throw your hands up in the air and give up.
At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to wake up next to your spouse, so it really doesn’t matter if I or anyone else thinks you look like an odd couple.
So what if you’ve grown your hair down to your waist while your hubby hasn’t a hair on his head, and so what if you look like the Incredible Hulk while your wife looks like she isn’t strong enough to lift a bottle of soda? As long as you share culture, traditions, hobbies, interests – and yes, religion – that’s enough to build a loving and lasting relationship. Many people live happily ever after without those commonalities, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have them.