The most pervasive issue when couples don’t get along is chronically looking at the other person as a separate entity. When two people don’t see themselves as part of a unit, constantly pointing the finger at the other, that’s when trouble is ahead.
“You do…” and “you don’t…” becomes the most used introduction to any conversation – or argument. We are constantly evaluating the other as to what’s right and what’s wrong with them, and it slowly but surely destroys the foundation of the partnership.
I’m not talking about abusive relationships. When one or both partners are physically or verbally abusive, it’s a whole different ball game. Other red flags are abandonment, financial irresponsibility and frequent affairs.
I’m talking more about the average, less than perfect, weathered marriage that has seen better days and is under a lot of stress. And the newlyweds that are discovering that the other person is only human and isn’t thinking about you twenty-four seven.
The romantic relationship of the 21st century is under a lot of pressure. We are supposed to fulfill the other person’s every need, and not just that: we are expected to inspire each other to constantly explore new things, and make the other feel that they are number one.
It can’t always be done. The hallmark characteristic of being human is that we are not perfect. “Embracing our humanity” usually means coming to terms with our shortcomings – and those of the other.
Regarding your partnership as a unit does just that: allowing and comforting when the other falls short, rather than getting impatient and frustrated. The one who is not living up to the expectations cannot just angrily shut down either, but admit their fallibility.
We must learn to understand each other and to embrace the fact that no relationship is perfect.
The first order of business of a successful partnership is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes – even if that conflicts with your own expectations.
When we put the other person’s experience first, sooner or later s/he will follow, and do the same for us. If not, you may have to ask for it. But what tends to happen is that if one makes the first step in letting go of exaggerated expectations, the other will reciprocate.
Care to find out what the other really likes, as opposed to what you think s/he might like.
If you embrace your partner as a part of your self, rather than a separate entity outside of you, all arguments will end – peacefully.
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Last reviewed: 3 Jun 2012