I was chatting with a friend about marriage relationships. There always seems to be at least one thing (sometimes lots of things ;)) about our spouse that constantly causes contention. It could be something small like the way they squeeze the toothpaste out of the bottle. Or it could be something big like they don’t tell you their travel schedule, and all of sudden leave on a business trip without warning. What do we do when there’s something that we feel so upset about, but our spouse isn’t changing?
The way I see it is your spouse may never change. Either they’re not willing, or they don’t see it as such a big deal, or maybe it’s just that change can be hard and take a lot of effort and time. So, you can either be upset about it, which usually leads to arguments and fights, and not being the kind of spouse you want to be. Or you can choose a different way to feel about it that is more effective.
A go-to thought that might help you is, “(Enter name of spouse) squeezes the toothpaste from the middle of the tube, and I love him anyway.” When you really step back from it, you know it’s not a big deal, so why not just love them, and straighten out the tube. Or if you really want to, request that they do it differently. They may or may not comply, but either way, you get to be loving, which feels a lot better than being petty and disagreeable.
Let’s try it in the other example, “(Enter name of spouse) doesn’t think to tell me his travel schedule for work, and I love him anyway.” This might feel like a bigger deal, but when you can see that they sincerely mean you no harm, it doesn’t do any good to get upset about it. If you just love them, and accept that’s how they are, you can again make a request, explain why it would benefit you (or him) if he kept you in the loop about his schedule, from a loving place. They may or may not comply, but at least you get to feel love and acceptance instead of hurt.
You don’t have to love that they do the things they do, but you can love them despite of some of the things they do. It doesn’t mean you don’t make requests, or set boundaries, but you get to love and accept them where they are and the way they are. It feels so good!
When have you felt unconditional love?