I read a piece (author not cited, sorry) about a couple and what it means to be in a marriage/relationship. The line that struck me in this piece was when they mentioned their prayer was, “Why do my husband and I have to be so different?” I realized that I’ve been asking myself that for years with my husband. Most of my relationship with my husband has been a self-created battleground of sorts. He’s far more independent and fearless than I am and he takes chances that aren’t always the best choice. I’ve spent years cleaning up and supporting and feeling like I’m constantly putting out fires and I’ve spent years begging for him to be different. See, that behavior initially drew me to him because his fearlessness was something deep down I knew I needed to experience in myself. Over time I’ve come to see it isn’t so much fearlessness, but more of an understanding about who he is. He has complete acceptance of himself. And that is a trait I needed to learn.
The point is that we are who we are and I’ve been fighting every step of the way. I can’t talk about acceptance of self and others if I’m rejecting what and who is in my own home. My husband is a complicated man. But those things that drive me crazy are also what makes him, him. The same can be said for me. You can’t spend over two decades with someone and not drive each other nuts at some point. The point is, it isn’t our job to make our partners be who we want them to be. Partners aren’t projects. They are our support. They make up the team. Trying to make them something else defeats the purpose of being together.
When you are with someone, you each bring a piece to the table and if we diminish their contributions, then there is no point in working together. Now, I’m not talking about being on a different page. When you’re working toward different things, that will never work. The relationship becomes a competition rather than something you work on together. As I’ve said before, acceptance is the way to move forward and when you spend your time trying to make someone something they are not, you’re fighting the natural course of things. The key is to take them for who they are and allow them to contribute to the relationship. That’s why you’re with them. You don’t want to be with a clone of yourself (even if you think on some days that might be easier). No. We need the outside opinions to develop more creative thought.
The bottom line is that life isn’t always about what we want, it’s about what is needed. The people we bring into our lives and the people who cross our paths are there for a reason. We aren’t always right and we need those people to give us a different perspective. The world is meant to be collaborative. We are meant to open up to those around us and share experiences and love and embrace the realities of who we are. We are meant to encourage each other, not break each other down into a watered-down version of who we are meant to be. We are trained from such a young age to be a certain way and it takes time and courage to say that we won’t do that any longer. That we will be who we are meant to be. IF we have the strength to do that, being with people is a whole lot easier. Being with ourselves is a whole lot easier. We can stop asking for others to be like us and start embracing exactly who we and they are. We accept.