What really matters for mutual understanding of two people are such things as having similar responses to music (not just shared likes but also shared dislikes), having similar responses to people (again, I mean both likes and dislikes), having similar degrees of empathy, honesty, patience, sentimentality, audacity, ambition, competitiveness, and so on. These central building blocks of personality, character, and temperament are decisive in mutual understanding.
…It is these sorts of aspects, these innermost aspects of a soul (as opposed to such relatively objective and transferable items as countries visited, novels read, cuisines mastered, historical facts known, and so forth) that make for soul-uniqueness. –Douglas Hofstadter, I Am a Strange Loop, p. 235
Shannon and I are engaged!
Reactions have run the gamut from “already?” to “finally!” To us it seems not a dramatic event, but rather a formal social recognition of intertwined personalities. Just before proposing I was asked whether I was nervous, and realized that I simply was not. I now understand how natural a relationship can be. Instead of social obligation or lifestyle, I am motivated by enthusiasm for today and the future.