Do you ever stop and think back to when you first “fell in love” with your life partner? What attracted you to them and what made you look forward to the next time you were going to see them again?
As your relationship progressed, you began to realize there was more to them than when you first met. Who they really were became real for you. You discovered what made them laugh and how they presented themselves to other people.
You started to notice if your partner had a lot of life and loved being with other people, or if they liked being alone, spending quiet nights with the two of you, or just a few friends.
Sometimes, what first attracted you to your life partner may be the same thing that drives you crazy years down the road.
I spoke with a woman the other day and she was sharing when she and her husband first met. She had a lively spirit and he was so attracted to her because of this. He was quiet and more reserved and yet they just connected.
It was much later in their relationship that he changed. Instead of loving and appreciating her liveliness, which was what first attracted him to her, he became jealous of it. Despite how hard he tried to be just like her, he just couldn’t.
In his dysfunction, he decided that instead of appreciating who she was and just letting her be herself, he chose to break and control that spirit, trying to make her a clone of himself instead.
We went through a similar time in our own marriage. William would play mind games that virtually forced me to stop being me. He would exaggerate a situation with the children so that I would feel guilty for being out with my friends and come home early.
Through many sessions of counselling he realized that, rather than allowing me to be me, he was trying to conform me to his own expectations of me and who he thought I should be.
You partner comes as a package deal. Their looks, personality, body type, likes and dislikes are all parts of the package that makes them who they are. Love does not crush. True love is not self-centred.
Real love works things out. Real love says, “I give my life to you. I am here for you.”
Are you trying to fit your partner into a mold you have chosen instead of cherishing the complete package just the way it is? Or are you in a mold that’s not you?
Real love, the right tools, and yes, even some hard work from both of you is what helps you realize the beauty and strengths in your partner.