Accept your partner unconditionally as a way to improve your relationship.
Expectations and taking each other for granted can dim the light of love in a long term relationship, especially if the couple is married or lives together. We each have our own ideas around how a partner or spouse should behave, what needs should be met, and what a relationship should be like. We’ve been subconsciously programmed by our parents, society, and the media of the time. Add to this the daily responsibilities, routines and stresses of life and it’s no wonder couples fall into the habit of grumbling, criticizing, or ignoring each other.
One key element in a healthy relationship is acceptance. If you feel the connection with your partner is charged with animosity or is disintegrating into crumbs, try the following as a way to improve your relationship.
Accept Your Partner
We each long to be seen and accepted for who we are, not what we do, how much money we earn, or how well we cleaned the house. Acceptance is acknowledging reality as it is. To accept another means letting go of shoulds, expectations and judgments. It involves being okay with what is. When we are not okay with current reality we are in resistance, which creates suffering. Non-resistance supports us to accept the moment as it is; to accept the person in front of us as he or she is; to accept the situation as it’s occurring. We may not like it, but it is what it is.
Couples often have this notion that it’s okay to try and change the other; to mold each other into ideal partners. “If my husband would just learn how to complement me more, share his feelings, and lighten up around my parents, we’d have a better relationship,” says one person. “If my partner could slow down and relax a bit more, focus on one thing at a time, and spend more time at home, we’d be happier,” says another.
When someone tries to change us to fit their perfect picture of a partner, it’s an invalidation of who we are, and it diminishes trust in our relationship. The same goes when we place our expectations on them. Perhaps your partner has changed since the romantic stage of the relationship and you wish they’d go back to their original behaviors, or maybe they haven’t changed and you wish they would. Either way, it’s unrealistic and detrimental to the relationship to pressure your partner to be any different than he or she is. Instead, try the following:
- Acknowledge what you value and appreciate about your partner.
- View differences and diversity in your relationship as a plus not a minus.
- Let go of shoulds and expectations and recognize where they came from (family, friends, society).
- Find ways to meet your own needs in the relationship.
- Be amused rather than irritated at your partner’s foibles.
- Be compassionate and forgiving towards your partner.
- Love your partner unconditionally for who they are in the moment.
As you let go of old programming around relationships and what partners or spouses are supposed to behave like, you will grow to appreciate your partner’s uniqueness, and value what they bring to the relationship. Your partner will feel relieved, accepted and loved, and this will have a positive effect on the relationship.
Do you have any questions or insights on how to improve your relationship by accepting your partner? Please share below.