It is one of the great ironies of life that no one can make us feel as crazy as the people we love the most. Every relationship has times of great bliss and harmony. And many of them have times when it feels like we are in a battle for our lives. But it doesnt have to be that way.
Two of the keys to a healthy, harmonious relationship are being able to see yourself clearly and accept your partner unconditionally. Remember that serenity prayer, that asks for the wisdom to know the difference between what can and cannot be changed? Now is when you probably need that discernment the most.
If we get fixated on ideas of who we think we are, what we are capable of, and especially what is and is not our responsibility, it becomes so easy to blame, judge, and punish others for our feelings and situations. We are especially likely to torture the person we see the most, the one who signed up for the long haul with us.
In these moments, we need courage to change the things about ourselves that are causing misery in our lives and the lives of those we love. We need to move past fear and examine our motivations, triggers, wounds, and true needs in every situation. Our relationships are healthiest when we speak and act from the healthiest place possible.
Inevitably, there will be things about your partner you do not like. Personality traits, egotistical behaviors, wounds, desires, habits something about him or her will have the capacity to bother you, if you let it.
You need to cultivate the patience to accept what you cannot change. And with most other people, you cannot change anything about them all true, lasting change can only come from within. You can express your needs clearly and maturely. You can offer support, information, and guidance. If someone is actually hurting themselves or others, you can intervene to prevent more damage, or refer them to a counselor or therapist. But it serves no one for you to nag or push a person. Ultimatums are useless and painful.
So now, back to that wisdom piece how do we know the difference? How do we tell when a thought, feeling, behavior, or pattern is our own responsibility to transform within ourselves, and when something is coming from another person and requires only acceptance?
Usually, the answer is both.
If something is bothering us that looks like it is coming from another person, that usually means that a: that person is reflecting some aspect of ourselves that we do not like and b: we need to love them in their imperfect perfection.
The Answer is Always Love More
If you find yourself shutting down or wanting to pick a fight when you are around your partner, ask yourself how you can love more. How can you love yourself more, so that you can release the armor that keeps you separated from life? How can you love your partner more, so you can appreciate and accept him or her as a beautiful and flawed human being? How can you surrender to the truth of what is, not what you think is supposed to be happening?
Part of the wisdom of discernment is learning to tell the difference between a behavior that just triggers you, and a behavior that is actually damaging you. Abuse of any kind is never acceptable, no matter how much you love a person. If someone is truly emotional or verbally abusive, it does no good to fight back. It is likely that the most helpful thing you can do is point out their abusive patterns in a clear and compassionate way, and then remove yourself from the situation.
This is another type of surrender knowing when to throw in the towel. First examine contributions to any negative situation, and how you might be acting from a wound or trigger. Then do your best to take responsibility and expand your awareness to be more tolerant and clear. If it still feels like you and your partner are hurting each other, and counseling does not help, then it may be that the most loving thing you can do is surrender to the ending of the relationship.
Ending the War
Ask yourself right now How am I creating conflict in my relationship. You might surprise yourself with all the ways you are doing battle. Are you willing to put the weapons down? Is love more important to you than the need to be right? Can you explore the reasons why you say what you say and do the things you do to and with your partner? Love doesnt have to be a battlefield, but the choice is yours.