Are You Right for Each Other? The One True Test of Relationship Compatibility

relationship compatibility

When I was in high school, there was a girl named Stephanie who had it all. She was tall with a pretty face and a nice figure.

Her dad was one of the richest guys in town and gave her the choice of any brand-new car she wanted for her sixteenth birthday. Nearly all the popular guys in our school stood in line for their turn to date her.

I did not stand in line.

If you asked me if she was an attractive person, I would have said “yes” without a second thought. However, I was not attracted to the idea of myself in her presence. She was taller than me by a good inch. She wore clothes that made mine look shabby.

And the worst thing was her silly way of interacting with people. I was very serious during my high school years, and I took pride in the accomplishments I was already pursuing at that early age.

Stephanie liked to engage people with as much silly banter as she could. It’s not that I couldn’t see the value of that playful style of interaction; it’s just that it didn’t play to my strong suit.

I could imagine myself feeling awkward and unlikable compared to her when trying to interact with her friends. In contrast, my friends looked up to me for my tendency to deeply consider questions before responding. I had my silly side too, but I wouldn’t want to be that version of myself twenty-four-seven.

Here’s what I’m getting at…

When I am attracted to you, it means I want more of you in my life. Even beyond that though, attraction means I enjoy being me when I am in your presence.

I don’t know if you have noticed this, but you change depending on who you are spending time with.

Some people draw out one facet of your personality while other people pull for another facet of your personality. Like a diamond with many facets carved into the stone, the light you reflect back at others changes depending on your surroundings.

“Some people are so much sunshine per square inch.” That’s a quote from Walt Whitman. His statement captures so much truth. I personally like myself better when I am in the company of people who have that special “sunshine” quality.

The sunshine quality is very different than the silly quality. You can be reserved in your demeanor yet beaming with sunshine as someone approaches you to strike up a conversation.

It’s not that I like a sunny kind of person more than I like a sad person. I love them both; but I like myself better when I spend time with a woman who has that special sort of “sunshine” quality.

“Live life as a monument to your soul.”

Ayn Rand

relationship compatibilityHere’s the number-one reason why I think you should consider how a potential partner brings out various facets of your own personality. My reasoning is reflected in the quote above. I want my soul to shine as I live my life. Therefore, I want to choose a partner who will help my soul to genuinely shine.

Does this make sense to you? Do you only look at the qualities and characteristics of a potential partner, or do you consider how they magnify or dull the radiance of your own best qualities?

Always on your side,


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104 thoughts on “Are You Right for Each Other? The One True Test of Relationship Compatibility

  1. Kat said:

    That was very interesting and absolutely lovely! I had to put that on Facebook! I completely concur! Thank you for sharing! ( :

  2. Linda said:

    You are a light to a world in great need…so many broken hearts…your teachings reflect Gods ways…Jesus is the true healer…but you have spelled it out in ways easily to apply to live by. When I add this to the truth that I know it reassures me and guides me to making good choices. Thank you for helping me through a difficut time. My husband died last year and I started dating again. Your book and letters have been a blessing to me.

    • James Bauer said:

      Thank you, Linda. I appreciate your encouraging words. It means a lot to me, and I’m proud of you for approaching life in search of what’s good even after such a loss.


  3. Kim said:

    As God does so in my life, this message came when I really needed it. Long story short, I’m a newly separated single mom who has accepted and begun to heal from her own emotional scars so that 1. I can truly love myself unconditionally. 2. Be the best mother to my two little boys. and 3. Hopefully, in some future time, share my light and love with another soul who brings out the best sunshine in me and I do the same for him.

    Thank you for this message, James. Couldn’t have come at a better time. Your writing speaks to me differently than others.

  4. Margaret said:

    Wow! This was a particularly good article (among all the other good articles) that really hit home. Thank you for the insight, examples and new perspective!

  5. p said:

    Dear James,
    Thank you for this. I always enjoy being as sunny as possible and appreciate the folks in my life who enjoy this quality about me. It is nice to know that there are men out there that, according to this article, love that quality in a woman.
    I read your emails more than I read any other “love advice” type writer.
    Keep up the wonderful and insightful work. It is inspiring and incredibly valuable.

    • James Bauer said:

      Thank you. I appreciate that!


  6. Marg said:

    Wow …you don’t just know about relationships …but the human psyche as well. Yours is the only email newsletter I actually read and learn from every time.
    Thank you!!

  7. BeatriceMarie said:

    I loved this article. Thank you for writing it. In fact, thank you for the wonderful news letters you send on a regular basis. I have signed up to other relationship newsletters and few of them have your professionalism and ability to encourage deep, meaningful insight like yours do. You have no idea how much I look forward to receiving up. You truly have a gift, James. Thank you for sharing it with the world.

    • James Bauer said:

      Thank you. That means a lot to me.

  8. There is a Ted Talk about marrying yourself that first introduced me to this idea of worrying less about wooing or winning favor with the person you’re with, and more about how you feel in his/her presense. The silly vs. sunny/funny concept is also well stated. Big difference. Well written. Thank you.

  9. This one really had me stop and think. Have to admit it makes a lot of sense. Reminded me that my husband filing for divorce when he had an affair with a married woman (she ditched him after two months) was the best thing he ever did for me. Brought out a better and different person than I was when was married to him.

    Amazing how you can move on..yes it hurts like hell at first, but you can and do move on to better. This article was so dead on in every word.

    I agree that you are selling yourself short by only sticking to this newsgroup. If I had connections I’d introduce you in a heartbeat to Dr. Phil. 🙂

  10. Jean Marie said:

    Dear James,
    I have been working with my own mind and heart, within the context of a mindfulness path, and as a very much alive and connected human being. I have found your work to be exceptional and very much reflective of the teachings that I deeply and genuinely relate to. I wanted to add that this last piece of yours mirrors the first note I ever wrote to my now fiancé, “You magnify my natural happiness.” And that is why he and I are partners and he is the man for me. We mirror one another’s goodness in an authentic, life enhancing way. Your work is very beneifical for humanity. Continue!
    With warmth and gratitude,
    Jean Marie

    • James Bauer said:

      Thank you, Jean Marie. That makes me happy.


  11. Jean said:

    So true. I have found a wonderful man. He brings out my inner beauty as well as a playful one. He is funny, sweet,kind,gentle the most caring man ever. We understand each other so well. Yet he has been hurt badly and when we get closer, he backs away. He cares and tells me so and says he wants to take it slow. I know how he feels through his actions. But he keeps those walls around his heart. Sometimes he lets me in and sometimes not……..we are slowly working through it and he says he is afraid of hurting me. Any suggestions, I’m so in love with him.

    • James Bauer said:

      First of all, congratulations. That’s a wonderful thing to find someone who brings out your best qualities like that.

      I recommend you pressure him and find sneaky ways to force the relationship to move faster than his healing will allow (just kidding). It sounds like you are moving at the perfect pace for what he needs to heal and open up to you. Let that happen and don’t hold your breath. Drink in the present and enjoy it fully.

  12. Laura said:

    James, you are by far the only “relationship coach” who keeps posting truthful and insightful articles. I follow numerous coaches because of my personal interest of this field. The majority focuses on “men need the chase” and “women need to stay mysterious” sort of stuff. They concentrate on things that lay merely on the surface or things that help you “play the game”.

    I absolutely love your publications and have recommended these to numerous friends and family members.

    Thank you!


    • James Bauer said:

      Thanks for the positive feedback, Laura. It means a lot to me.


  13. Alexandra said:

    Dear James,

    That was beautiful and insightful. Thanks a lot. I do believe that some people help you connect with the highest version of yourself and that a partner that does not do it is not the person I would want to ‘invest’ love in or share my life with. Thank you for your useful and thoughtful reflections and for this amazing Christmas present. Be sure this is the right path for you and that this path is not only about how to be romantically involved with someone else but how be spiritually involved with oneself.

  14. Mimi said:

    James, your information is thoughtful, well articulated and transformational. It is obvious that you know your business and the depth of your information pales to much of the advice I have read elsewhere. You really do need to explore the opportunity for wider coverage such as a television show or at least guest appearances. Your advice is truly spiritual and not just how to find and keep a partner. That is why your advice is transformational.

    • James Bauer said:

      Thanks, Mimi. I really do appreciate those powerful words of encouragement.

      • James, my name is also Mimi and I am a counselor . I echo this woman’s thoughts. Your information is transformational at the deeper spiritual level that will make a major difference in our lives. You really do need to explore the possibility of a television program. It would be a hit and so very helpful to thousands as you are trying to help individuals make major life changes by shifting their perspectives and not just to “get the man”.

      • James Bauer said:

        I can’t tell you how much that means to me, Mimi. Thank you. I’ll keep working and see what happens.

      • zanne said:

        Hey James! I, too, am a relationship counselor and writer and agree wholeheartedly with what Mimi (and others) are saying above. Insight is a gift–thank you for sharing it.

  15. Deborah said:

    Such a simple, elegant explanation! Thank you.

  16. Deanne Guardino said:

    Is it true that a man would not like to be ‘out-shined’ by his woman? And I don’t mean in the light, silly, playful way that you described Stephanie, I mean in a spiritual, deeper, kinder, more intellectual way?

  17. Lily said:

    Dear James,

    You are YOURSELF so much sunshine per square inch!!!
    And thank you so much for being that for not just one special person in your life, but for all of us! I love you, can I say that?

  18. Wilmien said:

    Hi James
    It seems a lot of the things you focus on starts with being happy and emotionally independant.I truly find that hard to accomplish but it explains why guys I don’t care about are crazy about me.I know I am a kind off cynical,black comedy,serious person.I am also still hung up on my ex,I compare every guy to him.and a lot of time have passed since how do miss unshine become miss sunshine.

    • James Bauer said:

      That’s a good question, and one I wish I could answer with a sentence. I’ll tell you the most important thing. Start with the intention to put your own happiness as one of the highest priorities. This changes your thought process when things go wrong. Instead of insisting things go right before you allow yourself to be happy, you choose a perspective that allows you to be happy now, even if you don’t get what you want.

      It is not a selfish thing to do. You will find it is mostly about choosing perspectives that allow you to experience whatever present circumstances you face in a way that brings joy rather than anxiety about the future or regret about the past. One of the traits of the happiest people in the world is that they put happiness as the highest priority, and everything else comes second.

  19. Sylvia said:

    You know James?
    You are the best relationship coach, and I love read your articles!
    Brilliant, thank you for the inspiring view!

  20. This has been one of the most inspiring and eye opening ways I’ve seen someone put in words to carefully watch what others bring up in us, if they support us in shining our light, or if they bring up other facets in us. Brilliant James, thank you!

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