Acceptance Is a Powerful Relationship Building Tool
Focus on your partner’s good intentions. This makes forgiving mistakes easy or better yet, overlook imperfections — then there is nothing to forgive. Focusing on the good intentions of a partner's action and not the outcome of an act, prevents negative judgment, anger, criticism and is exactly what is needed to fix a broken marriage.
Acceptance of your partner is one of the most essential of all the marriage rules and is one of the most powerful of all the relationship building skills that are needed for relationship success.
Watch this short video that tells you why ACCEPTANCE is important in a marriage or committed relationship:
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The following is a true story that teaches how to fix a broken marriage using the relationship skill of 'acceptance.' Identifying details have been changed to protect privacy:
Tammy was often critical of her husband Paul. Whatever he did was not good enough, and she let him know. She felt she could not accept him as he was — he just had to change; he had to learn how to be a good husband!
Paul felt rejected and responded by staying late at work in order to avoid Tammy. When he was home and Tammy criticized him, he would push-back saying he didn’t understand what Tammy was talking about implying she was 'crazy' or he simply ignored her, rolled his eyes or dismissed her with a wave of his hand. All this made Tammy furious and was additional proof that Paul was a very 'bad' husband!
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This bitter relationship pattern continued for years. Both were worn out from the never-ending tension and strife. They stayed married believing it was better for the children.
Being married was a painful for both of them! They felt it, and so did the children.
I told Tammy to listen carefully as I am going to tell her one of the most important marriage rules she needs to follow. I told her that she needs to lower her expectations of Paul.
Handing her a notepad, I instructed, "Write a list of all the things Paul does that bothers you. Put the things that bother you the most on the top, and ones that bother you less lower down on the page." It didn't take her long to list about twenty-five items.
I continued, "Now, put a line through the bottom items leaving only the top five items. Starting today, only react when he does one of the top five items on your list. Ignore everything else. When he does violate one of the big five, rather than voicing it as a complaint, express your awareness as a positive behavioral request. In other words, tell him what you want."
"For example, if you are upset that he left his dirty clothes on the floor, instead of complaining to him, calmly and respectfully request that he put them in the hamper. When he has completed your request, simply thank him."
Paul assured Tammy that when she would just tell him what she wanted, he would gladly do it!
Over the next two weeks, Tammy continued using these new relationship building skills. She reported, much to her amazement, that this new plan worked and the tension and conflict between herself and Paul had subsided. She informed me that Paul completed what she had asked of him, and his attitude had improved.
From Paul’s perspective, he reported he didn’t feel attacked by Tammy since her requests were polite and respectful. He found it much more agreeable to accommodate her wishes and not resist as he had done in the past. He began to feel he could be in 'good enough' in Tammy's eyes. He appreciated using these new relationship building skills.
The less important items that Tammy had once pressured Paul to do had now become non-issues (the complaints Tammy had crossed off her list). Tammy just ignored them or took care of it herself.
Like a miraculous medicine, Tammy’s new 'acceptance approach' spread into many other areas of their relationship. This ripple effect led to significant positive changes that they both valued.
Paul became more sensitive and caring. When he felt accepted, he felt valued, and when he felt valued he became more involved in his family in a variety of ways — and all of this was greatly appreciated by Tammy. After all... this is all she had really ever wanted — she just hadn't known how to achieve it.
This new approach created a home environment that was friendly, upbeat, and healthy for everyone, adults and children alike. In the end, both felt more accepted and their differences acknowledged rather than negatively judged.
Tammy learned to 'accept' that the way Paul did things was different from the way she did, and most importantly that this was okay. Paul came to understand that what was important to Tammy was okay and cooperating with her was a smart thing to do. For the first time, both Tammy and Paul came to understand the importance of marriage rules to build their relationship.
Everyone is different, and everyone has different ways of doing things. When you apply these marriage rules to your relationship, your spouse will feel loved and accepted, and in turn, you will feel his or her love and appreciation. If you accept the differences between you and your partner, rarely will you become upset or angry. Sometimes the differences between you and your partner are due to gender trait. Learn how gender differences impact on relationships.
Would you like to learn more about marriage rules so you can improve your relationship? Take a look at our inexpensive ebook The Eight Marriage Rules available in our store.
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