Build Your Marriage on Understanding and Acceptance
Many couples tend to focus on the problems and conflicts in their marriage, believing that if they can just solve their problems their marriages will be happy. The reality is that no couple will ever solve all of their problems.
There are two types of problems in a marriage.
- Solvable problems are those that are situational, one-time or occasional problems. Solvable problems do not cause pain to a spouse. A solution can usually be found after discussion.
- Perpetual problems are conflicts that happen repeatedly and are rooted in personality traits or cultural beliefs or family upbringing. Perpetual problems cause pain and are usually emotional conflicts. No matter how often the couple discusses the problem, a solution is not found.
The process to arrive at a resolution or way to cope with both types of problems is the same. All people have a basic need to feel that they are understood and accepted. If you understand your spouse and accept who they are, you are able to communicate openly to resolve your issues.
In order for your marriage to remain a loving a safe place to be, we need to be willing to understand our partner.
Often our egos get in the way of trying to understand how our partner is feeling and what they need from us.
In any marital problem or conflict there are two subjective opinions, yours and theirs. No one has the right opinion and no one knows the right way. The problem or conflict is never one partner’s fault. When something happens, you see it one way and your partner sees it another way. It is a matter of perception.
The first step in resolving any problem or conflict is communicating to understand the problem or conflict. That means:
- No judgment
- No blaming
- No accusations
You need to take time to calm down, think about what made you upset, and what should change either resolve the problem or make it easier for you to cope with it.
In order for marriage to improve, we need to feel accepted by our spouse.
True acceptance means that you love your spouse for who they are, warts and all. It is not a conditional acceptance that your partner seeks. If you do this I will accept you, if you make more money I will be happy with you. Not accepting your spouse for who they are is rejection.
You fell in love with your spouse when they were not perfect; so do not require that they change their personality or intrinsic nature in order to be accepted by you.
- Focus on what you admire about your spouse.
- Focus on what makes you grateful for your spouse.
- Focus on the little things your spouse does to make you happy.
Unless your spouse feels accepted by you, it will be difficult to discuss any type of problems you have in the marriage. When people feel criticized, unappreciated, or disliked, they are too busy protecting themselves to have an open communication about issues.
There are no big magic, dramatic solutions to our problems in a marriage. The small everyday efforts we choose to make to understand and accept our spouses as they are will help resolve the problems are make them easier to cope with.