Thursday, March 4, 2010

Acceptance within marriage

Not that I am by any means an expert on the subject. But in general girlie conversations with my single friends it has come up more then a few times. The question, how do I know when I found mr right?

We spend our whole lives building these preconceived notions of what we "should" or "want" to find within a spouse. We are so filled with these ideologies that we continue to micromanage and over analyze every relationship we find ourselves in. So what is my advice? The first and most important step to finding mr right is acceptance. There is no such thing as perfection. If we set out to find the perfect man, barbies ken, we are setting ourselves up for failure. That is by no means to say we should settle. Let me explain this a little further.

What does forever mean to me? When I considered the question is this someone I can imagine spending my life with, I did not bog this process down with my preconceived notions of what traits or personality my husband should have. It came down to one very simple question. If I were to loose him tomorrow, could I imagine going on alone in life. And for me the answer was very clear, no, my world would be shattered.

With that realization you have to find acceptance. You have to accept the quality traits and imperfections in your spouse. Even you yourself are not perfect and your spouse has gone through the same process. I am not saying that they are in any way flawed, but everyone is different, and we have to welcome people into our lives just the way we are. We cannot make changes in other people, these changes have to occur within  ourselves in the form of acceptance.

I could write a book about the things my husband does that drives me mad, but you know what, he could do the same about me. And in the end, even those little thinks that make your skin crawl, you would miss even those were you to loose your partner.

I am by no means perfect, I have said hurtful things, I have tried to manipulate my spouse into doing things the way I see fit, but in the end you realize that it just doesn't work that way.

My teacher (in my German course) shared a story with us. Her husband was never able to vocalize how he felt about her, so she had to make changes within herself to accept him the way he was. This was by no means sacrificing her won standards, but sometimes we have to give in order to receive. Now if I were to tell you that her husband has never said I love you in over 25 years of marriage, you would instantly say oh my  and make some assumptions. But that is where you would be wrong. Just because he did not vocalize his feelings did not mean they were not their. Over the years of marriage they worked out a system, she would ask him do you love me and he would reply yes. It became their special way of saying I love you. This past year on their anniversary he walked up to her with flowers in his hands and tears in his eyes, begging her to ask him, and when she said do you love me he bawled ad said yes. Sometimes actions speak louder then words.

The same is true of my husband. For the longest time I felt hurt that he did not go about things in the ways I determined they should be done. And many times I would lash out. But then one day I had a realization. I had said to him that he never thinks of me and I never felt special. He replied that everything he does every decision he makes is for me, and just because he doesn't say it, by no means holds the meaning that he does not care. In the same conversation I lashed out and made a comment about him not bringing me home gifts, and his eyes swelled with tears as he told me that day he was a work and looking at a jewelry stand. He said he looked for over 30 minutes but nothing he found was beautiful enough to give me. I am actually crying as I write this because when he said that my heart was so pained. I had made false assumptions and said hurtful things without ever taking the time to realize that he is him and I am me, and I can not hold him to the standards or expectations I myself have set. The things he said meant more to me then any box of chocolate or flowers.

Marriage is companionship, a life long partner. We can look to the animal kingdom and see animals that spend their whole life's together. They never stop to say oh well you did that wrong, or I hate that about you. They love unconditionally, regardless of what life throws their way and that is what marriage is. It is a realization that you would not want to spend any day of your life without this person. From good to bad, arguments to happiness, it is everything all mixed together.

My husband drives me mad, but I could never imagine spending one day of my life without him.

So the best advice I can give is to toss aside any preconceived notions you have built over the years. Learn to accept the good and the bad in your partner. And the day you realize you love him even with his failures, that is the day you know you found mr. right.

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