Improve Your Relationship by Accepting Your Partner

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.

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Dear Readers,

I am not able to be on the computer much these days due to my current activities, so I won't be able to respond to comments very often.

I encourage you though, to use the comment section as a place to share your experience, read about others' and to respond to and support each other with your situations.

Take care,

Gini

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3 Responses to Improve Your Relationship by Accepting Your Partner

  1. JANE says:

    Dear Gini

    I wonder when we judge our partners and find fault, is this because we deep down are not confident in ourselves? Are we uncomfortable with a person’s difference’s because our own sense of self is not strong enough?

    Maybe we look to the other person to define us, and feel uncomfortable if they disagree, seeing that as a personal thing, rather than just them having an opinion.?

    I know someone that does not seem to care about the opinion of others, but yet, he does have low self esteem..this intrigues me, as I too have low self esteem , and know only too well, that I feel uncomfortable if someone says for example, oh I cannot stand such and such a programme on the tv, if its one that I like..I then lose the confidence to discuss the things I like, if I know that they don’t!

    Also If they don’t show an active interest by asking questions, I tend to dry up.

    Maybe I lack confidence in my opinions and therefore look to others too much to give me the confidence by asking questions, to spur me on!

    I have no idea where this lack of confidence came from , but I did not receive praise that much from either parent, well if I did, it did not register. I felt my father disapproved of me, so I guess thats quite major, as I find this problem is more with men!

    Anyway loved your article very interesting ..as are all that you post.

    thank you

    Jane

  2. Gini Grey says:

    Hello Jane,

    Thanks for your comment. I see and have experienced what you are talking about below, and I do think that if we judge our partner, we most likely don’t feel confident in ourselves deep down. I know this for myself – if I’m in a judgmental mood of my husband and I then stop to look at myself and how I’m feeling, I usually notice some “not good enough” message surfacing within me. I believe others can be a powerful mirror for us if we allow them to be.

    When I stop judging or blaming my husband long enough to look even deeper within myself at that “not good enough” message I see that it is a lie in my space (from similar things that you experienced – not enough validation from my parents and too much invalidation). Accepting that for what it is (without judgment again – gotta stay out of judgment to heal) supports me to release it and touch into the ‘enoughness’ that I really am. Than I can have a good laugh at my attachment to being “not good enough” as though it is an identity -a badge of honor for surviving my family or something:)

    I think that when we get to that place of feeling enough (forget the good part) we make a seperation from others opinions and don’t take them personally so are not afraid to share our views regardless of how others react. I think we have to realize that we are so full of love and are connnected to the source of love that it won’t be taken away if someone doesn’t like what we do, watch on tv, or say etc. as we know we are still loved and whole within ourselves.

    Take care,

    Gini

  3. Sallie says:

    Hi Gini,
    I absolutely loved this article. I was doing some research online because my “friend” and I have been going through the exact situation you described. I say “friend” because he does not like the idea of titles. He says that the title is not what keeps people together or faithful, which I agree with but I feel like referring to me as a “special friend” when we live together and have known one another for 20yrs, is BS, to say the least. I know a good friendship is the foundation to a healthy relationship…blah, blah, blah! But come on now give me the respect and credit I deserve with at least a title and hopefully someday a ring. But that’s a whole other topic.
    Anyway your article really hit the nail on the head addressing an issue we are currently dealing with…him pointing out what I did wrong, where I went wrong, what I’m not doing right and the things he says are a mirror of things he does. By no means am I perfect, neither is he. I just want a little credit for the things that do come together. So I have bookmarked this article for future reference (because we will be referring back to it).
    Looking forward to another article soon.
    Sallie

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