I would venture to say that a significant amount of people are still marrying with only 16th century values in mind without even realizing it. They pair off only considering common values and dynasties. The decision to marry comes from thoughts like, “we are both from good families, make good money, believe in God, and want kids, so we can make this work.” Many couples get married solely on compatibility, shared goals, and the desire to extend their legacy through children. This works well in societies where arranged marriages are the norm and love and lust come secondary to lineage and legacy. But in America in 2016, chemisty, love, lust, fun, and happiness are all part of the equation, and rightfully so in my book.
What does chemistry even mean? It is almost unexplainable and there is no recipe to make it when it’s missing. I was given a simple but accurate definition by one of my podcast guests last week. According to him, “chemistry is the thing that will make you follow your partner when they get up from the couch to go to the kitchen.” Basically, it’s what makes you attracted mentally, emotionally, and physically. I won’t dare compare chemistry to teenage puppy love, but it’s the thing that keeps you wanting to constantly be in a person’s face and their space. Even for people like me that are in constant need of “space.”
We sometimes avoid lengthy discussions about chemistry because it can’t be changed. You can’t say, “hey honey I was hoping we could work to improve our chemistry.” Let’s be clear; chemistry does not equal sex. It’s possible to have good sex without chemistry but even better with strong chemistry. A relationship can survive without chemistry, but it will never thrive. Lack of chemistry is probably a catalyst in many affairs. A relationship without chemistry is just plain boring! It’s like getting paid to watch paint dry; you’re still making money, and it probably won’t kill you, but is that really any way to live?
I love a good fairy tale but I’m not disillusioned enough to think that “love is all you need.” It’s just not practical to spend your life with someone you have nothing in common with and no shared goals. However, compatibility is somewhat fixable (that doesn’t mean you should, but you can). I’ve seen people adjust their goals based on their partner’s needs. I had a girlfriend who strongly disliked the idea of organized religion, but when she met her (now) husband who grew up in church, she became more educated about religion and came to agree with many of the principles and now they have a shared passion for it. Compatibility can develop over time. The more time you spend with someone , the more you develop similar patterns, habits, hobbies, and even goals.
Chemistry is just there, or it’s not. You feel it, or you don’t. There’s no “fix” for chemistry.
You can’t teach, convince, and coerce yourself into feeling butterflies or wanting to spend time with someone or genuinely finding them fascinating. Yes, you can like, respect, and admire them, but shouldn’t you feel more than that for your partner?