Which component in a romantic relationship is more important: attraction or compatibility? While many would argue in favor of compatibility, Rabbi Shmuley says it is attraction that is the lifeblood of a healthy, long-lasting and loving relationship. He talks about the true meaning of attraction and why it is at the heart of every great romantic partnership.
In today's society, Rabbi Shmuley says attraction is misunderstood and has been reduced to mean physical attraction, which is ultimately a fleeting force based on novelty. But real attraction, he argues, is much more. "Attraction is the inexplicable, mysterious, magnetic pull of polar opposites—of the feminine to the masculine, the masculine to the feminine," he says.
When a man is attracted to a woman, Rabbi Shmuley says there are five things that should constitute his attraction: Her scent, sound, mind, heart and, finally, her body. Compatibility takes precedence over attraction when these five senses are not fully explored and engaged, he says. "We've so reduced attraction to something so monolithic that it's lost its power, so we've had to fall back on compatibility," he says.
Attraction may create or lead to compatibility, but compatibility alone is not enough to keep a man and woman together for the long haul, Rabbi Shmuley says. Compatibility means having things in common—it means friendship, he says, and couples who embark on a lifelong commitment to one another based solely on the merits of friendship are bound to fail. "The insistence on compatibility as opposed to attraction is what's making relationships so weak these days," Rabbi Shmuley says. "They are so easily torn asunder because the force that binds them is actually a weak one."
"In a relationship, common goals are much more important than a common origin. Where you are going to is much more important than where you are coming from."