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The long-married elders recommend that you discuss this issue and to make sure core values are as similar as possible.A number of the elders offered this tip: Early in the relationship, each of you writes down your basic values or principles in areas like money, children, work, and sex — then share these statements with one another.” Is there a way to tell if someone is likely to be a compatible long-term mate, or a difficult and contentious partner? But in our interviews with hundreds of long-married couples about what works and what doesn’t for a long and satisfying relationship, one simple and straightforward answer emerged again and again.It turns out that our elders believe there’s something close to a “magic bullet” when it comes to deciding in a relationship: “Should I stay or should I go? But first, let’s take a look at conventional wisdom. Look at Romeo and Juliet coming from two perpetually feuding families.Take Emma, who at 87 has been married for 58 years.

So the elders are in the scientific mainstream when they urge you to seek a partner who is similar to you in important ways. On the other hand, we live in a pluralistic society that increasingly values diversity, breaking down old barriers and understanding and appreciation of differences. The message to take away from this lesson allows for both perspectives.

Based on their long experiences both in and out of romantic relationships, the fundamental lesson is this: And if you’re very different, the elders warn although that marriage can work, is likely to be much more difficult.

I can hear some of you saying: But it would be boring if two mates were exactly alike in interests and personality!

It’s based this time on compatibility and understanding one another’s values. In other words, there’s no meanness, there’s no power struggles, no ‘my way is the right way,’ those kinds of things.” Of course, to ensure shared values, there is a catch: Namely, you need to explore one another’s values while you are in the process of committing to a relationship.

Ask the question: Do we believe the same things in life are important?

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Because value differences are likely to be at the heart many relationship problems, it’s much better to know them in advance of committing.

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