Sunday, 12 June 2016

Sticking together

An article today claims that the best predictor of whether a relationship will last or not is how conscien-tious you are. If you're efficient and reliable, your relationship will do well. If you're scatty and disorganised, sooner or later it's break-up time.

If you answer yes to these five questions, then supposedly everything's rosy and the two of you will stick together like glue into a blissful old age.

a) do you pay attention to detail?
b) do you get chores done straightaway?
c) do you like order?
d) do you follow a schedule?
e) do you ensure you are always well-prepared?

Well, I'm not sure conscientiousness predicts anything at all. Some people might love a partner who's so well organised and methodical, but it would drive others round the bend. They'd hate the constant activity and fussing and demand some mindless lazing about for a change. They'd ask why everything has to be done right now and why it can't wait till tomorrow. Or next week. Or next year.

Jenny and I are both efficient and reliable people, which is definitely one reason why we've stayed together for so long. We absolutely loathe disorder and mess, and we would certainly say yes to all those questions. We don't let the greasy dishes pile up. We don't leave dirty clothes everywhere. We don't run out of food. Our household is a well-oiled machine and we like it that way.

If I have to stay for any length of time in a more shambolic household, I do find it hard to cope with. I keep wanting to leap up and sort everything out, and I have to resist my organising urge and hide my dismay. Interestingly, some of those households consist of very long-standing relationships, which just goes to show the experts are wrong yet again.

Health warning: take all quizzes with a pinch of salt.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm still very young in a wonderful relationship with my partner and our 2 small children. We manage our daily life easily in organising what has absolutely to be done .The most important for us is to be respectful with each other. My partner is a loving charismatic person and I do not care if things are not always so organised. Partnership is for us mutual comprehension and of course confidence and love. No dirty dishes and clothes piling up.
Mia More

Z said...

I agree with you, I don't think that sort of sweeping statement holds water at all. I suspect that having similar tolerance levels, at least, is pretty vital and at least one of a couple has to take on responsibility for bills and hygiene in the home, but paying attention to each other is, I think, more important than attention to detail. I've got friends who will have been married 43 years this September and they're wonderfully, if slightly infuriatingly, chaotic, and other equally happy friends like order and comfort. I'm somewhere in the middle, but I love the unpredictable and would be driven to distraction by a schedule and a man who needed one.

Z said...

I never, ever run out of food, by the way.

Nick said...

Mia: Yes, I think all those qualities you list are just as important as conscientiousness, probably more so. And it seems you've worked out how to get through all the daily chores quite easily without any draconian schedules.

Z: Similar tolerance levels and paying attention to each other are essential. As you say, you can be married for 43 years and thrive on chaos, if that's what comes naturally to you. I'm not that keen on the unpredictable but I would run a mile from an hour-by-hour schedule as well. I'm not THAT obsessive!

Rummuser said...

My late wife and I fit the five question qualification perfectly. We stuck together for forty years. And I am very much like you.

Dave Martin said...

Communication, honesty, patience.
Without those things as a foundation it won't last. Anything else is just a question of actually liking each other enough to overlook the inevitable foibles and eccentricities.

Nick said...

Ramana: Yes, you strike me as another methodical, well-organised person.

Dave: Those qualities are necessary too. I don't think we overlook each other's foibles. We just accept them as part of our different personalities - sometimes irritating and sometimes amusing and endearing!

Shawn Maeder said...

That's ridiculous. Two people can live quite happily in their mutually chosen chaos.

Nick said...

Shawn: Absolutely. I know people who thrive on chaos. If their home was in apple-pie order, they'd have a full-scale panic attack and be unable to function.

Bijoux said...

So two organized people are the only ones who stay together? Makes no sense.

Nick said...

Bijoux: It's nonsense. But I guess researchers like to come up with some dramatic "finding" that gets them lots of attention.

Wisewebwoman said...

Don't believe it 4 a minute. There's very little room for order and scheduling in a creative environment. The thought of this kind of automatonning gives me the Willies. I'd run screaming from this regimental ion.

As a matter of fact I did.

XO
WWW

Wisewebwoman said...

Note to self: Don't rubbish type comments on ur device.

kylie said...

I don't have much routine and I don't get chores done straight away. Sometimes we run out of food (that would be because of time or money constraints, not organisational deficits)

I'm pretty sure my husband finds these things impossible to live with so the research might have a point

Nick said...

www: I know your life is pretty haphazard, what with all the things you're involved in, the sudden emergencies etc. Being ultra-organised is not your style at all!

Kylie: An interesting clash of attitudes there! But clearly there's give-and-take and mutual tolerance that keeps you together.

CheerfulMonk said...

I wouldn't say we're that well-organized, but our life works just fine and we've been married almost 52 years.

Nick said...

Jean: I think there's general agreement here that being efficient and well-organised isn't the magic ingredient and that all sorts of things contribute to a lasting relationship.

Secret Agent Woman said...

That strikes me as silly. I could see where it wouldn't work if one of you was neat and efficient and one disorderly and slobby, but what if you were both perfectly content with things being messy? And if you have children, you HAVE to be able to tolerate a certain amount of chaos.

Nick said...

Agent: More and more I think it's a case of researchers looking for an eye-catching headline to promote their work and academic ambitions. I can think of several couples I know who seem perfectly happy surrounded by what looks to me like total chaos!

Jenny Woolf said...

Does seem a bit of a sweeping comment! I think what is important is that people have similar attitudes. I used to find people who were endlessly tidying up were very wearing, but now I find people who are disorganised very wearing. It is definitely more pleasant to live in a well organised house. What one needs are some elves! :)

Nick said...

Jenny: I think similar attitudes are very important. And more than that, a similar way of thinking and looking at the world. Interesting that you've changed your mind about tidiness! I also find disorganised people very tiring, but they probably find my tidiness equally tiring!

Hattie said...

Nice blog you've got here. I'm coming over from The Other Side of 60. My husband and I have been married for 52 years and are both kind of slobs but very mentally organized. What I can't stand in people is a messy mind. A friend of ours, when she comes to stay with us, always insists on organizing my kitchen and neatening up the yard. I let her, and I am grateful.

Nick said...

Hattie: I suppose that's the key to it. Your house may look like a complete mess, but if you're mentally organised you can find your way through the chaos and keep everything running smoothly. Handy to have a friend who insists on doing some tidying-up for you!