Would you like more passion and connection in your marriage?
Despite your desire for a closer relationship, does it seem like the tension and irritation in your marriage is moving the two of you further apart?
Are you longing for some REAL changes to happen so that you can finally have the kind of bond with your spouse that you’ve always wanted?
Well, sometimes the answer to questions like these sounds absolutely crazy and absolutely like it won’t work…
But, quite often, the more outlandish and irrational the idea, the more effective it is.
That’s the case with this bit of relationship advice we’re about to suggest to you.
If you and your partner bicker and quarrel frequently…
If it seems to you that you can never say or do the “right” thing in your partner’s estimation…
If your partner is nearly always getting on your nerves for doing those things that he or she does…
We’ve got a crazy-sounding technique that we want you to experiment with.
Don’t try to change anything whatsoever about your partner or your relationship.
We’re often writing articles and advising our coaching clients about how to make changes in a love relationship or marriage. We suggest methods for overcoming jealousy, enhancing intimacy and rebuilding trust– and these improvements usually happen by making changes.
Sometimes, however, the wisest move to make is to come to a place of acceptance and even appreciation about what is. In other words, sometimes the biggest improvements occur when no apparent change has happened at all.
Stop trying to change.
Now, of course, what we’re suggesting here is an actual change. It is a change of approach and perspective within you that may even spur your partner toward a similar change of perspective.
Beth gets so annoyed with her husband Jason. He can be downright rude to others. He is often closed-minded, stubborn and his table manners also leave a lot to be desired.
As much as Beth would like to just ignore these bad habits, she finds herself fixating on them. Usually, she also tries to fix them in Jason. As gently as possible, she points out when she thinks he’s hurt someone else’s feelings or behaved inappropriately.
Needless to say, Beth’s attempts to get Jason to change his ways are rarely successful and often lead to arguments between them.
What if Beth stopped trying so hard to change all of those things about Jason that irritate her and that she deems to be wrong?
What would happen if, instead, Beth shifted her focus and her view of Jason?
You might equate accepting your spouse’s apparent faults with condoning or promoting behavior that you don’t like or even find offensive.
This is actually not what we mean at all.
When you practice acceptance of your mate, you are merely acknowledging that he or she is the way that he or she is. You remove the judgments that you may previously have made of your partner and of what your partner is saying or doing.
This removal of judgments and criticisms is very powerful on many levels.
First of all, you are no longer making yourself responsible for another person’s behavior. Essentially, when you try to make your partner change in some way, you are indicating that it is your job to ensure that your mate follows a certain set of rules (these are your rules and priorities, by the way).
When you release yourself from that role of being responsible for your partner, you free yourself to more fully be the person that you want to be. You can spend more time and energy on you.
Another benefit of removing judgments and criticisms is that you can stop feeling powerless.
Let’s face it.
Rarely can one person truly make another person to change. When you really want your mate to be a different way and, over and over again, you come up against the fact that you simply cannot make this change happen, it can be frustrating and disempowering.
When you practice accepting that this is the way that your mate is at this moment in time, you can notice what is and then make a choice.
Your choices are many.
Here are a few that we recommend: You could choose to focus on something else about your partner or the circumstances that does not irritate or annoy you. You could change your own response so that it will improve and not further inflame the situation.
You could remember that your mate is a multi-faceted being with many appealing as well as unappealing characteristics.
Another choice that you can make is to learn how to appreciate…in even the most difficult of times.
We know, when you feel annoyed, appreciation is probably the furthest thing from your mind. We do NOT recommend that you cover over or shove down how you actually feel and pretend that you aren’t feeling what you are feeling.
At the same time, we encourage you to get into the habit of finding aspects about the situations that come up in your day-to-day life that you can appreciate.
You might appreciate that your partner handled a tense moment with another person with grace this time. You could appreciate the way that you are giving most of your attention to what your mate is saying, rather than to how he is slurping his coffee.
You may appreciate that she is asking you to fix the leaky faucet instead of ordering you to do it.
There are so many things that you can choose to appreciate– even your differences— if you make that choice.
There are certainly times when agreements to change a behavior need to be created by you and your mate. There are absolutely situations in which a boundary needs to be set.
But, there are also plenty of other times in which a couple could move closer together when one or both of them decides to practice acceptance and appreciation.