"People are a lot like clocks."
The gears in a hand-tooled clock create their own special working environment. Taking some gears out of one to replace worn out parts in another may sound logical, but it can actually be a bad idea. The custom working system of the one may not be compatible with the working environment in the other.
Everybody grows up in a family environment that's like the gears in the old clock. We can't just assume that "...since we're so much alike," we'll work well together! Our old family system, the "old clock," may not be compatible to allow it to work in the "new clock."
So, buy into an opportunity the holidays can offer to help you check it out. You can use them to help you sample the compatibility of your "old" family environments with what you're developing, potentially, as a new shared one. Also, don't let what's probably a normal fear around meeting and spending time with your special person's parents and family members rob you of this opportunity.
Here are some helpful "gear evaluation" questions:
- (Before the event) Are you both comfortable with this opportunity? Discuss how and why you feel what you are respectively feeling.
- (Before the event) How comfortable are your families with this opportunity? Discuss how and why you believe they are or are not comfortable.
- (After the event) How much effort do you feel family members made to help you feel included? Discuss how and why it may have felt that way.
- (After the event) If you had opportunity to personally contribute to the overall experience with his/her family, what was that like, how did it happen, and what were you feeling in the process? Discuss that, too.
- (After the event) Overall, discuss what you feel this experience tells you about the potential compatibility of your different "gears," and what you believe is your likelihood for working well together.
Until next time...be yourself, have fun, and be smart!