(In today’s guest blog post, Barbara Peters explores an issue that is essential to building a healthy marriage/relationship: How to make mutual acceptance a regular part of your relationship.)
While it might be easy to accept the big abstract philosophies and universal truths our partners spout from time to time, it can be irritatingly difficult to accept the little mannerisms and personality quirks that pop up day-in and day-out in our relationships.
You know, all the things that can push our buttons, even something as simple as leaving the cap off the toothpaste. Before long, irritations can explode into a litany of “Why don’t you do this . . . How hard can it be to do that?”which quickly becomes the daily mantra.
Nobody is perfect, especially our partners, right? And, oh how good it can feel to point this out!
Accepting others, especially the person we love so much, can be difficult to do. To practice acceptance, it’s necessary to shed our coats of self-righteousness and self-centeredness. We must be willing to overlook, if not fully accept, the shortcomings, differences, quirks, and limitations we think our partner has.
Acceptance doesn’t happen overnight; it is a process, especially if the relationship has become a battle of wills. Yes, you can do it alone and you will see a definite improvement in your relationship, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if you both tried to be more accepting of each other?
Here are some steps you can take right now to perfect your skills of acceptance:
- Learn not to criticize. Ridiculing your partner for behavior you do not accept will not make the other change. Instead, focus on your partner’s strengths.
- Be a good listener. Your partner wants to know you respect his or her words.
- Plan constructive things to do together to build your similarities and “togetherness” strengths.
- Humor helps. Laughing about an issue sometimes makes it vanish. Making fun of yourself in a lighthearted way is a good form of self-acceptance, which will transfer to your feelings about your partner.
- Have realistic expectations of your partner and your relationship. It is what it is! You can work to make it better, but, remember, we’re still all human!
Barbara J. Peters is a Licensed Professional Counselor and relationship counselor with extensive experience working with couples. For more information about Barbara and her relationship books, visit her website: www.thegiftofalifetime.net
Rich Nicastro, Ph.D. is a psychologist specializing in marital/relationship issues and creator of www.StrengthenYourRelationship.com. If you’d like to become a guest expert on his website, please feel free to contact Dr. Nicastro.