7 Ways To Radically Accept Your Spouse, For A WAY Better Marriage
Marriage and change go hand-in-hand.
It's no wonder that traditional marital vows are literally all about how spouses need to support and accept one another, no matter what circumstances come their way.
Even if you don't change your last name or where you live, getting married is a major change!
And life changes, no matter how positive or welcome, still can rock your self-esteem and sense of confidence.
You may also start to notice things in your partner that you never had before.
As you continue to solidify and form a new identity with the one you love, hyper-critical thinking can set in. And that's where strain really takes hold of an otherwise happy, healthy marriage.
Believe it or not, all marriages, no matter how strong, or deeply connected, will experience strain when change happens.
THIS is why couples benefit so much when they introduce the concept of Radical Acceptance into their relationship.
If you're unfamiliar with the concept, you can get a great introduction to it in Andrea Miller's book, Radical Acceptance: The Secret to Happy, Lasting Love. It offers a relatable, actionable five-step plan to help couples realize the long-term benefits to introducing more empathy and compassion into their marriage.
It's both a selfless and a selfish act, because the act of empathizing with your spouse ends up making it a lot easier to empathize with yourself too.
And the individuals who learn how to radically accept their spouse and grow together despite it all — they end up having longer, happier marriages.
On top of that, our YourTango Experts have some serious insights on how accepting your spouse can lead to a more fulfilling marriage.
Here are 11 ideas for how you can introduce radical acceptanceinto your relationship. It will be SO worth it.
1. The more you love yourself, the stronger your marriage will be.
Unconditional love needs to be given ‘first to yourself’ before you can give it to your partner. It is putting the oxygen mask on first, before attending to others. Self-love in a successful marriage is a pre-requisite. YOU must be healthy within your Self, before you can have a healthy relationship of any kind.
2. Understanding yourself can help you be more empathetic towards your spouse.
Everyone wants to be accepted for who they are, and seek approval endlessly to accomplish acceptance. As we know, even trying to change small things about ourselves is a huge challenge, so then why would one think that they can change something about their spouse?
Accepting the person you married is truly about not trying to change them. Rather, it is offering the very approval they perhaps did not get in early childhood. Who better than you, to offer this gift? Not to say its a blank check for approval of all behaviors. Surely there will be ones to negotiate. But lets find the ones that we can illustrate this idea, so that our partner does not wind up in my office saying "I can't do anything right". Ha, familiar?
Example: He never picks up his clothing, and I am left doing that, I have asked him so many times and he just won’t do it. Instead, you can try a different approach or a new response, but the same response over and over gets the same results over and over...
Accepting a person for who they are can also set you free because you then realize that you don’t have any control over them, just choices that you make about being with them.”
3. Accept that people communicate love in different ways.
Relationship Intell 101. Read the 5 Languages of Love. Putting aside the religious aspect of this renowned book (its written by a pastor) lets extract the basic concept. There are different ways of expressing and inferring messages of love and acceptance. Through acts of service, gift-giving, quality-time moments; so many ways other than verbal.
Prioritize what’s important to her simply because it’s important to her (even if you feel she’s too anxious about being on time).
Accept that his initiating sex is his way of reaching out to connect (not because he just wants to satisfy his sexual appetite and is ignoring the emotional distance between the two of you).”
Its all about the Bids to Connect.
4. Remind yourself that you are different people who share the same marriage.
The concept of ALLOWING makes room for both persons to exist, respectfully. It is not your job to convert your partner to your ways. Like we allow nature to figure out how the plants will grow, we allow our partner to figure out life. We can observe and even enjoy this process, without controlling it. We can assist and support, like we might water and fertilize the plants. But ultimately it is their journey that unfolds. Know your place, and the boundaries around it.
5. Take time to self-reflect.
Do you repeatedly ask yourself if you're with the right guy? Perhaps then YOU are the wrong person for HIM.
That questioning means you are not fully stepping into the relationship. Be ALL IN, as the vows stated.
Commit to accepting your partner, with all the glory and all the imperfections. Always striving for improvement and connection, but keeping both feet in the relationship.
6. Change what you can, picking and choosing the battles. Be wise.
"The relentless struggle of trying to change your partner is surely likely to backfire. Despite all good intention, disapproval prevails, and leaves in its path the ruins of resentment".
7. Find reasons to be thankful, and really mean it!
Being grateful is one of the best ways to keep your loving going strong. But don't just think it, say it! Make sure your spouse knows he/she's got the best partner on the planet.
Scan for the positive, not the negative. How easily we default to the negative. Catch this early on.