How to Stay Connected by Accepting Your Partner

We’ve had a very busy week. Maude had mid-month reports and a flood of uncommon work issues, and Phil took on some programming work, which for him is all-consuming. But we noticed last night that through it all, none of this affected our connection with each other; we didn’t withdraw into ourselves or snap at each other. In fact, the times we spend with each other help us move through turbulent times with equanimity because they remind us of who we are. When we are with each other, there are no barriers; we can be ourselves, whether that is anxious, sexual or joyous, and we can be like that because we accept each other fully. We take this sense of ourselves out into the world like a shield; the events of the day might affect how we are, but never who we are.

This is the point at which you’re probably grumbling “How wonderful for you, Mr. & Mrs. Home & Garden Perfect; how about real life?” We’re not trying to boast here; we want to inspire by saying good relationships are possible. Often people think their problems are with their partner, and if only X (and maybe Y and Z) were different, things would be perfect.

Assuming your core values match, you have to accept your partner totally #quote #relationships #blog Click To TweetHere’s the bad news: assuming your core values match, then you have to accept those things and live with them; you have to accept your partner totally. (There’s one important caveat: this doesn’t include abuse, whether verbal or physical, and unfortunately, people often find that hard to recognize, instead blaming themselves. Check with a trusted friend to make sure this isn’t the case for you.) And how do you practice such acceptance?

  • Think about what lies behind your reactions. Take untidiness, for example. Are you uneasy when things are not in their place? Is it disgust at dirty clothes lying around? If you’re OK making the same mess, maybe it’s not having control over your environment. Dig as deep as possible. The very act of naming your reactions will clarify the situation, and maybe your partner will react differently when (s)he hears the deeper reasons.
  • Think wabi-sabi, the Japanese appreciation for imperfection. This is part of what makes your partner who they are: they won’t ask for directions, they fart in bed, they can’t stand cigarette smoke. They are as distinctive as the chips and the loose foot on Phil’s grandmother’s kitchen timer.
  • Think half-full, not half-empty. Your world becomes what you look at. When you look at your partner – or anyone! – in terms of their flaws, you are guaranteed to be dissatisfied. Ask anyone on their 5th marriage about their spouse. More than likely they haven’t found the right person yet; instead of X, Y and Z, it’s J, K and L that bug them.

Your partner is a smorgasbord of characteristics. Enjoy the brie with strawberries and skip the cottage cheese. (Apologies to cottage cheese fans.)

The good news is that all this is possible, and it’s your choice. Believe that a good relationship can be created, then go out and make it happen.

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