For a long-term relationship to work, you'll want to share your basic life values. Among those basic life values is whether you prefer security or freedom.
People who prefer security to freedom gravitate to jobs that offer good benefits and employment stability. They have an emergency fund in the bank. They love planning for events, vacations and projects. More often than not, they know what they are doing on the weekend before the weekend comes. Your anal geek.
Those who prefer freedom move from job to job fairly often. They care less about the benefits and stability of the job than enjoying the work, the people and having flexibility--flexibility in scheduling and flexibility to develop the job in different directions than originally foreseen. They would rather arrive in a city with no hotel reservation and no plan. Your entrepreneurial geek.
Of course, a security-lover can find a spontaneous person very exciting to be with for a period of time. In fact, it would probably be very fun for a tight-ass to date a freedom-lover for a while. But if you really are at extreme ends on this scale, over the long run it won’t work. What happens when one of you wants to quit her job and move to Bangladesh? Or what if she wants to spend your emergency fund on a tropical vacation or a business idea that has a very uncertain outcome?
No one falls completely on either end of the spectrum. And you may be more free and spontaneous in your work life but fairly rigid in your personal life. Or the opposite could be true. Maybe you love buying last-minute plane tickets for a long weekend in San Francisco and throwing spontaneous dinner parties but you’ve been at your government job for ten years and love having a pension you’ll be able to count on. Generally, though, people favor one side of the spectrum.
Which side do you fall on? Not which do you want to fall on. Be honest.
Not that you can’t be with someone who is more spontaneous than you are (or more secure), but a large difference in this area will not work in a marriage.
Up on Friday: what to look for in a date if your a security-lover, and what to look for if you're a freedom-lover.