Yesterday I was visiting with one of my favorite people in the world. She had just ended a relationship and we were talking about the issue of compatibility. How hard it is (especially in your 30’s) to merge schedules and lives in a harmonious way.
Now let it be clear I am happily married. This is more something I have observed happening with my friends and family. It seems to me in your 20s you are a bit more malleable and can grow and learn together as a couple. Where as in your 30s you know what you wants and what you don’t want.
As we were talking about this it occured to me that I had thoroughly vetted my husband through a series of questions. Prior to meeting my husband I had spent 6 months on an immersion trail crew living in a ten million acer wilderness. Now when you see more bears than people you have a lot of time to think. And think I did.
When not hiking with 16 miles a day with 6 ft crosscut saw, or using a pulaski to dig new trail, I would ponder what I wanted for myself. I had chosen this job to take space to reevaluate what my life’s goals were. I was very clear at 23 what I did not want, but had no idea what I did want.
One of the things that became clear to me in that time is that I either wanted to be with someone in a true collaborative relationship or I wanted to be alone. I came up will a killer game plan of how to suss out the wannabes from the real deal holyfield.
I can up with 5 speed dating questions (not that I ever went speed dating, but ya know just in case), and they are gold. They clearly depict my interests and needs in a potential partner.
Now my friend whom I was talking to yesterday has a very similar disposition and interests to myself, and so I gifted her these questions. Now I will gift them to you. Not because I think you should necessarily use them, but because if you are struggling to find a counterpart, be it romantic or otherwise, I would encourage you to take the time and space to consider what you really want and need out of a relationship. I don’t think I ever would have met my husband had I not done this work first.
I will also say that just as important as the questions themselves is the answers given. My future husband did not necessarily give me the answer I wanted to every question, but that didn’t meant it wasn’t the right answer if you know what I mean.
Question 1: Are you a dog or a cat person?
This question is a no brainer. There are two kind of people in this world. Cat people, and dog people. Then there are the emotionless robots who don’t want either… He told me his preference was cats but he is open to getting a dog. While I am a dog person I appreciated the flexibility of this answer.
Question 2: Can you build a bookshelf?
I am a hands on, get dirty kind of gal. And I am not one for buying pressboard bull shit from big box stores. I needed to know that I would be with someone who knows how to measure and make cuts and isn’t going to cry when they get a splinter. That’s my job, and a relationship can only have one of those people. He told me he had not made a bookshelf but that didn’t mean he couldn’t. I was impressed by the swagger of this answer. Here is someone who felt confident learning new things. He also then gave me a list of many other things he had made, which honestly were much more impressive than a bookshelf.
Question 3: What is your signature dish?
I like to eat. But I don’t love cooking. I am more of a cheese and apple, or granola bar kind of gal, if left to my own demise. I needed me a person that can hold their own in the kitchen, and not in a box mac n’ cheese kind of way. Honestly I don’t even remember what he said, but I can tell you he does the majority of the cooking in our home.
Question 4: What is the last book you read and when?
I like to read. I do not like to be talked to when I am reading. This question was 2 fold. First I want to be with someone who is well read and interested in a lifetime of learning. Second I wanted someone who would understand my own commitment to these things. He was currently reading the biography of Malcom X, which is the width of a small home. Our marriage has been a compilation of us doing trainings, teaching, reading books together, him keeping me up to date on current events, reading books to our kids etc. He also generally respectfully gives me space when I am reading.
Question 5: What is the farthest you have hiked in a day?
Again I can not remember the exact answer but I found it o be impressive. It stood again my own 27 miles in one day. What I do remember that it opened a whole discussion about time outdoors and camping, and I knew then that the dude could hang. As much as I enjoy my time outside and alone, I also love having a shared experience in nature with the people I love.
So there it is. My 5 questions. Recently my husband brought up these questions when some friends were over for dinner. He remarked that I had interviewed him and that really all of those things had come into fruition in our lives together. That I was somehow preparing him or warning him about what was to come. I am glad he passed the interview with flying colors. I am glad I did the work to set my intentions. I hope they serve you just as well as they did me.