You will never fully understand your partner, and your partner will never fully understand you. You can have compassion for each other, but trying to figure out your partner is futile – and not the way to save your relationship.
Couples waste their time trying to figure out each other; it’s just not possible and not necessary in order to love someone. Your partner will never be like you. Stop trying to coerce her or him into thinking like you, into agreeing that you’ve got the answer about how to live life. You do and your partner does, too. There is room for multiple ways of thinking and being in a couple.
No one ever fully understands why others do the things that they do. I wouldn’t lead my life like anyone else I know, would you? My friends and my husband have different interests than I do. My husband likes to do activities, only some of which I like. For example, he likes golf while I have no interest in the game whatsoever. My husband loves reading science fiction, a genre that doesn’t appeal to me at all. He gets up earlier than I do. He doesn’t understand why I always love sleeping in. Likes and dislikes are subjective, but we still can’t help ourselves from saying, “I can’t understand why my partner loves to do this or that. Is he or she crazy?”
You never stop being an individual just because you are in a long-term relationship. Compassion and empathy are possible, but successfully figuring out your partner is not. It’s hard enough figuring out what’s going on inside of yourself. Love your partner. Forget about trying to understand her or him. Then not only will you save your relationship, you will help it thrive.
The next time your partner says or does something that you don’t get, ask yourself if you can love him or her anyway. One couple in my class thought they had to break up after decades of marriage because they couldn’t understand each other’s cosmological view of the world. He couldn’t understand why she was a materialist while she couldn’t get why he was woo woo. I asked them if they loved each other, and they immediately said yes. Everything else in their long-lived marriage was going fine. Partners think they have to do the same things and believe the same way, but they don’t and they can’t. Even divergent worldviews aren’t grounds for divorce. Make a list of the wonderful differences that you can’t understand between you and your partner. How much do they really matter?