Myth of Incompatibility

There is an ancient story in which a Roman woman comes up to a rabbi and asks, “What does your God do now that he has created the world?”

The Rabbi answers,” He tries to match up couples,”

The woman responds, “Is that all? I could do that myself,”

The Rabbi responds, “ Maybe so, but for Him that is as difficult as splitting the red sea.”

The oldness of this story suggests that it may be misleading to assume that relationship failure is more of a modern phenomenon. Connecting, relating, marrying, mating has always been a difficult experience for our species.

But this 2000 year old story also supports a wide spread myth that the key to a successful relationship is the right match. So when a couple doesn’t make it together, they claim it is because they are incompatible. And then when two people from different backgrounds, cultures, or religions, do make it, we still think in terms of compatibility and we say that opposites attract.

“A more accurate perspective is that it is not the ingredients of the mixture but the emotional crucible into which they are poured.” (Edwin Friedman)


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