Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. Proverbs 4:23

Every day we feed ourselves minute by minute with our thoughts.  If we feed ourselves with thoughts of self-inadequacy or the inadequacies of another then we have already set our life to fail before the day has ended. If your spouse did five things in a day for the family and you focus on the one thing he or she didn’t do. You have set your mind to failure?  Capture your thoughts. Whenever you start to focus on the other person’s flaws turn your thoughts to their strengths and the qualities for which you married them.

Acceptance is something that is usually easy when we first meet someone we are interested in getting to know. Of course, there were those silly little things that annoyed you. Like when that person was always late, didn’t plan things out and just didn’t do things the way you would. But those things weren’t that big of a deal back then. Why not? Mostly, because you were seeing the big picture. Your spouse is different than you. They do things differently. They have different emotions and thoughts.  When you seek to change that person into your way, you seek to rob them of some of the things that make them who they are. In all relationships, the hope is for growth toward a balance, but there are some things that may never change. The characteristic in your spouse that you may think is a weed, you may later find out is something fruitful and essential to your family.  If you focus on pulling that weed, you may lose a part of them that is beneficial.  For example, if you wish they were on time, but they are always late. It gives you anxiety and makes you angry.  However, their laid back personality may lead to a relaxed view of the world and provide a different perspective for your family in times of trouble. Your spouse gets very focused and goal oriented and forgets to get the butter from the grocery store. However, this focus and goal orientation may make them likely to achieve in certain areas that benefit you and your family.  In essence, each person grows in their own way and it is not up to you to change the other person to be and function more like you. Finding a level of acceptance with your spouse is part of the joy and excitement of experiencing another person. There may be characteristics in your spouse that help them on their path and that provide them with the ability to adapt to things in a way that works for them. If you rob them of that you may rock them off balance and your entire family.

If you have done the activity for this session, you have already written down all the other person’s flaws or more accurately those things that really bother you.  Are you willing to accept those flaws or are they deal breakers? Its never a problem to let your partner know if something bothers you, just remember to not take this as an excuse to nag. But if you can accept the flaws on the list, then quit spending all your energy trying to change them!  Let your spouse be themselves, and if they seek improvement or growth it will happen on their terms, not yours.  

A note on Patience

Timing is everything. You may be ready for a change in your life or relationship, but your partner may not.  Looking back on life you can see times when you had begun to change or grow on the inside. But it probably took time for it to reflect in your actions. If you force something with your partner, you may not have the end result you are looking for. Begin your own change and be patient with your partner. Find a time to bring up issues when they are open, feeling loved and are receptive. Once you have communicated your needs and feelings, allow them space and time to find that growth on their own.

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love – Ephesians 4:2

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