From different spending styles to different social lives to vastly different sleep schedules, careers, or hobbies, the idea of someone being opposite from us is sometimes particularly attractive in its novelty and exoticism.
And indeed, it's a good thing when we can be exposed to a perspective far different than our own.
In my years as a psychologist and advice columnist, I've seen a lot of individuals in unhappy marriages.In some of these cases, there are particular crises that have led to the strains: the loss of a loved one, difficulties with child-rearing, unexpected health problems or financial setbacks.Maybe his spontaneity is exciting, since you tend to live by an itinerary.Maybe her willingness to ditch responsibilities for a mental health day is refreshing, when you've typically worked even when you have the flu.Or maybe what seems reasonable for a young, childless couple in terms of partying and drinking no longer seems reasonable with two toddlers underfoot, and yet one partner can't seem to change their lifestyle.
Take a hard look at your partner's — and your own — relationship with substances. "We are living like roommates, rather than lovers" is often used as an example of how a relationship has lost its spark, and indeed, it's not a good thing when your partner feels no different than the person you bunked with at summer camp.
If each of you vaguely imagines having two children, that might sound like you're perfectly compatible on that score.
But what if after one child, one of you absolutely wants to stop?
Who takes responsibility for the bills or finding a plumber when your toilet has leaked all over the place? What are our thoughts about kids, and how certain are they?
Virtually everyone would acknowledge that opinions about whether or not to have kids should be openly discussed and clarified before getting married.
Even the deepest love can't prevent certain conflicts over decades of living together: It's how you anticipate those conflicts and how you're willing to work on them that will determine whether your marriage can go the distance. What differences do I love now but may find grating in five years?