It's possible to overcome compatibility issues and build a stronger relationship by learning how to communicate effectively and work together towards shared goals.

Overcoming Compatibility Differences in a Relationship: Couples Share Their Story

couple illustration, couple compatibility

Compatibility is a crucial factor in any relationship, but it's especially important in romantic partnerships. When two people come together, they bring their unique personalities, interests, and values with them. While some differences can be complementary, others can create conflict and tension. 

However, it's possible to overcome compatibility issues and build a stronger relationship by learning how to communicate effectively and work together towards shared goals. In this article, we'll explore how couples have resolved their compatibility issues and offer some practical tips for navigating differences in relationships.

1. Communication Differences

Couples may have different communication styles or may not be able to communicate effectively with each other. So how should they go about it? 

Meet Rohan and Pooja Sharda, a young couple from Nagpur, Maharashtra. Rohan is 28, and Pooja is 26. After being married for a year and a half, they encountered some communication issues due to their different communication styles. Rohan is a direct communicator, while Pooja prefers an indirect approach. This caused frustration and overwhelming for both of them.

Rohan informed me, “Well, we had a conversation about it one day. We acknowledged that we had different styles and that we wanted to find a way to communicate more effectively.” Pooja added, “ We agreed to try a few things. I would try to be more patient with Pooja and give her time to express herself. And Pooja would try to be more direct with me and not hold back what she wanted to say. 

We also agreed to use "I felt _____ when you said/did ____" statements instead of "you did this" statements when communicating so that we could avoid blame or defensiveness.”  e.g instead of saying “You don’t care about me. You are inconsiderate. You never make time to call or text me”, we started saying “I feel disconnected and lonely, when you don’t pay attention to me.”

They add that this regular conscious practice helped them a lot. Rohan asserts, “We still have some communication differences, but we've learned how to navigate them and work together to find solutions.” On the other hand, Pooja says, “We both feel more understood and respected in our relationship now that we're communicating more effectively.”

2. Cultural Differences

Couples from different cultural backgrounds may face challenges in understanding and respecting each other's customs and traditions.

Let’s take up the case of Debolena Bose and Nilesh Ukey of Nickelfox Technologies. They got married in 2021. From the start, they were aware of the stark differences in culture and upbringing between them. 

Nilesh, a Marathi from Bhopal, and Debolena, a Bengali from Jamshedpur, come from different backgrounds and have distinct perspectives towards life. Debolena, raised in a business family as a single child, values fulfilling her desires and finds traditional household expectations burdensome. Nilesh, however, perceives her as entitled and extravagant. In their self-arranged marriage, it was challenging for them to understand each other's mindsets and habits. Nonetheless, they resolved the issue by communicating openly and sharing their expectations, passions, likes, and dislikes.

Debolena shares, “Initially there was friction, for instance, my overall attitude in life, which also includes the kind of clothes i wear, as this was starkly different from theirs. Traditionally, there is a belief that a new daughter-in-law will accept her MIL as an authority figure and mould herself into the husband’s culture. That cooking and looking after the family is her primary job, irrespective of having a full-fledged career. These traditional expectations are difficult to be fulfilled in a modern-day setup. This was the cause of some initial conflicts. However, Nilesh communicated it time and again to his parents and the larger family that this was not possible in the kind of life we lead. Once all forms of expectations ended, our relationship with our parents became more harmonious. And knowing that Nilesh will always stand by me, strengthened our bond.”

3. Financial Differences

Couples may have different attitudes towards money, which can lead to conflict and misunderstandings. 

Let’s take up the case of Tom and Sarah Jacob from Chennai, Tamil Nadu and see how they struck financial compatibility in life. Tom recalls, “We know that feeling all too well. Sarah and I used to argue about money all the time. Yes, we had completely different attitudes towards it. Sarah liked to spend because her salary package as the Founder of her company is pretty high. On the other hand, I am a regular employee elsewhere, so I liked to save!” That sounds familiar. How did you guys resolve your differences  - was my obvious question.

Tom shares, “ We started by sitting down and making a list of our financial goals as a couple. We talked about what we wanted to achieve and how we could do it together. This made Sarah realise that we both wanted a financially stable future when we would have not be working! 

This involved saving for a down payment on a house and paying off their student loans while also enjoying their money and treating themselves occasionally. To put this into practice, they sought help from financial expert friends and created a budget that allowed them to achieve their goals while still having fun.

Related read

Budgeting to Investing: Finance Coach's Guide for Couples towards a Stronger Relationship

4. Personality Differences

Couples may have contrasting personality traits, which can cause conflicts and misunderstandings.

IT expert Rahul Sharma, a 28-year-old introvert from Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, prefers spending time alone or with his wife. On the other hand, his 25-year-old wife Neha Chaturvedi, who is a Marketing Head in another IT firm, loves meeting new people and going out. Initially, their different personalities led to conflicts, with Neha feeling neglected and Rahul needing time to recharge. 

However, their parents intervened, and the couple sat down to talk things through. By sharing their feelings and acknowledging their differences, they worked on finding ways to adjust and meet in the middle.

They communicated openly, listened without judgment, and made conscious efforts to respect each other's needs and desires.

For instance, Rahul made an effort to be more present during social activities, while Neha learned to give him space when he needed it. By respecting each other's personalities, they improved their relationship and mental well-being, learning that different personalities can complement each other and add value to their relationship.

5. Dietary Differences

Dietary differences among couples refer to differences in food preferences, eating habits, and dietary restrictions between partners.

These differences can lead to challenges in meal planning and can affect the overall health and well-being of both individuals. Now let’s see how an Odisha couple sorted this all among themselves. 

Emily Gojer and David Ronchon, a couple from Odisha, moved in together in 2021 after being in a relationship for two years. However, they soon discovered that the differences in their dietary preferences and restrictions was starting to create issues between them. Emily was a vegetarian while David was a meat eater with gluten intolerance, making meal planning and cooking together at home challenging. Emily's nausea towards the meat smell further complicated matters. Initially, David would buy his meals, but it took a toll on their finances and his health. They decided to work together and found a solution by experimenting with different recipes from YouTube that accommodated their dietary differences. 

Emily shares, “We found that we could make vegetarian meals that David could add meat to on his own, and they could also find gluten-free substitutes for some of our favourite dishes.” David would boil chicken and keep it in a separate refrigerator for fresh as well as later use. He said, “It's nice to be able to share meals together without compromising our dietary needs. And I really appreciate that Emily was willing to be flexible and work with me on this."

6. Home Management Differences

Couples may have different levels of tolerance for clutter or messiness in their home, which can cause tension.

We again go back to Debolena and Nilesh to share their story related to this difference and how they overcame it. Nilesh had a different perspective on maintaining household cleanliness compared to Debolena. He considered himself above average in this regard, but for Debolena, he fell short of the cut-off line. Debolena pointed out that bed sheets and sofa covers had creases whenever Nilesh used them, while Nilesh believed that cleaning beds and sofas throughout the day was a waste of time.

Eventually, they found a middle ground. Nilesh realized that a wrinkled cover was Debolena's trigger and made it a point to smoothen them whenever he used the bed or sofas. Debolena, on the other hand, decided to be more tolerant and realized that having creases on bedcovers wasn't the end of the world. She also suggested using wrinkle-free materials to avoid future spats.

In conclusion, if you're struggling with compatibility issues in your own relationship, take heart. Remember that every couple faces challenges and that there are always ways to overcome them. By focusing on your shared goals and supporting each other along the way, you can build a stronger, more fulfilling relationship that can stand the test of time.


The opinions expressed within this interview are the personal opinions of the protagonist/protagonists. The facts & statistics, the work profile details of the protagonist/ protagonists do not reflect the views of Baely or the Journalist. Neither Baely nor the Journalist hold any responsibility or liability for the same.

About the Interviewer
About the Author
Mahima Sharma
Mahima Sharma is a Senior Journalist based in Delhi NCR. She has been in the field of TV, Print & Online Journalism since 2005 and previously an additional three years in allied media.
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