I used to say that “communication” was the toughest part of being in a relationship. But “communication” has become cliche and worn out.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not minimizing the importance of healthy communication. And my husband, Jerry, and I still struggle with this. But it hasn’t been my biggest struggle in our 8 year relationship.
My biggest struggle in our relationship: ACCEPTANCE.
After skipping and dancing through the honeymoon phase of our new relationship and eagerly moving in with each other, the relationship got real.
We started to see things in each other that we didn’t immediately see (or pay attention to).
And the idea of this perfect partner I had now started to fade, and the imperfect, flawed human I was in a relationship with began to surface.
And it wasn’t Jerry’s fault.
It wasn’t even my fault.
Acceptance was tough for me.
I was fooled by fairytales, media, TV shows, books, and my own parents’ ideas, opinions, and judgments of what a romantic relationship was supposed to be.
I was also fooled by my ego.
“Of course I’m the perfect partner. I’m not flawed.”
I’m flawed AF.
So is my husband.
And it’s ok.
In this committed, mostly harmonious, sometimes turbulent relationship, I’ve learned that the minute I accept my husband for his flaws, I’ve accepted myself for my flaws.
So when he misplaces his wallet and keys, there’s space for me to accept, let go, and love with compassion. And when he says something that unintentionally hurts me, I can accept that he isn’t trying to hurt me.
Rather he is learning every day how to communicate with me. And he does the same with me when I wake up as Moody Morning Mike or when I mistakenly take his forwardness for being mean and inconsiderate.
In a relationship, we are always learning how to love our partners better.
Conversely, we have to teach our partners how to love us better. This is something we do every single day.
With every teaching, there is reflection and learning.
And when we are constantly learning how to love each other more, we are constantly growing as individuals and as partners.
Bottom line: it is imperative we accept our partners for their flaws — the annoying, frustrating, irritating flaws. And we must accept that we can’t change them.
If you can’t accept your partner for who they are, you’re locking yourself up in a relationship prison — and that can become lonely and isolating.
You and your partner deserve to be with people who will accept them for who they are. We all deserve deep connection and love.
And we all deserve to accept and be accepted.