Originally published on January 18th, 2013. We enjoyed it so much we had to run it again in time for Valentine’s Day.
It’s one of my most plaguing questions….would eHarmony, the online matchmaking service that claims responsibility for five percent of U.S. marriages, match me with my husband of nearly 16 years? If the two of us completed their profile, based on 29 distinct “dimensions of compatibility”, would we, in fact, be compatible?
Cheri and Frank look happy, right? They must have matched at least 15 dimensions of compatibility
I investigated all the factors eHarmony takes into consideration — sociability, self concept, family background, education, the list goes on and on. I firmly agree that all these things are important in meeting the right person and embarking on a relationship that has sticking power. But, after having ridden this ship for 16 years, I really think there are more probing “dimensions of compatibility” that keep you married.
Television (yes, I love TV)
The modern American household has four TVs (okay, I made that up but I know Americans have a lot of them). This means that TV is important, right? There needs to be a section in all online dating services where men answer questions like, “Will you, in fact, be willing to watch anything on Bravo, pretend that you actually know Bethenny Frankel, and talk about all of these people as if the choices they make impact your life?” “Will you be able to carry on engaging conversation about whether the RHONY is better with or without Jill Zarin?” And we women need to take a look in the mirror and honestly answer questions such as “Is it okay that, starting in late August every year of your married life when college football begins, your husband will start watching Sports Center in the early morning hours on Saturday and not leave the TV until midnight?” He may say things like, “Did you make chili? Can you bring me a beer? Can you do something with the kids to get them out of my way? The game is on.” If two people can deal with these TV scenarios, then I give you at least one decade.
My favorite Skinny Girl, Bethenny
Ah, the true gift of marriage that keeps on giving. Your in laws. This is a very real consideration when determining how much success you can expect from a marriage. My firm belief is that every family is crazy in their own wacky, lovable way. It may be your great uncle who drinks too much beer and takes his false teeth out at parties. It may be your mother-in-law who likes to come over unannounced at 10 pm (when you are trying to watch Bravo). Regardless of what it is, couples need to be aware of the fact that when you marry someone, you are also marrying the entire line of crazy behind them. Online dating services need to work this into their profile matching with questions like, “If you have someone in your life who is constantly talking about how your cooking isn’t as good as hers, is that okay or will you go nuts one day and slip a little something into her latte?” “Is it okay for you to be constantly emasculated by a man who insists he should be the one to fix everything in your house because you don’t have the right pair of needle-nose pliers?”
Most people don’t really talk about this before getting married. From most married couples I know and in my own life, it goes a little something like this: “Men, will you accept the fact that you are responsible for taking out the trash, changing the light bulbs, scooping dog poop, killing bugs and cleaning out the garage?” “Women, will you accept that you have to do everything else? Everyday, forever?”
If you’re like 98 percent of other married couples, you’re going to have a few of the ankle biters. This is where many marriages get into trouble. Having kids is demanding work if you want to do it right. And, while online dating services do ask questions about children, I think this is what couples really need to consider: If neither of you (especially mom) doesn’t shower for two or more days, is that okay? Are you fine with not being able to have an adult conversation for about 15 years? Can you watch the Disney channel and not feel sick? Can you view breasts as a food source? Are you offended by granny panties? Can you shop/eat/think/do everything with just one hand? Can you accept that you will always talk about your children, even when you swear you won’t because you’re on a date night? Child rearing is a marathon, people.
While this certainly isn’t all inclusive, I think it paints a fairly good picture of what couples need to think about before embarking on marriage. And, what no dating site tells you because they can’t turn this into a formula, is that the most important dimension of compatibility is finding that special person who loves you exactly the way you are and doesn’t want to change anything about you. If you can find that person, everything else falls into place and you can watch TV, do your chores, raise your kids, love your in laws and be thankful every day for what you’ve got.