LOVE LESSON: Shared Interests Aren’t Everything

This is the third installment of our “Love Lessons” column. Every week, we publish a mini-essay (100-250 words) about a single thing that can make or break a relationship. To submit your own entry, send an email to mlts.magazine@gmail.com.

When Tom Hansen described how perfect Summer was for him, his little sister said something very wise. “Just because she likes the same bizzaro crap you do doesn’t mean she’s your soul mate,” she told him.

Tom’s preoccupation with his and Summer’s shared interests in (500) Days of Summer is something a lot of us have shared. When people look for partners, they tend to focus on shared interests, thinking that being able to talk for hours about something or other means they will never run out of things to talk about.

In writing her incredible book, Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, one of the things Lori Gottlieb discovered while interviewing experts and regular people is that shared interests are not most important to making a relationship work.

What’s really important is shared values and personality traits like patience, honesty and understanding. These are the things that determine a couple’s compatibility and what gets them through life together. – Rosella Eleanor LaFevre

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