“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”~Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island.
Have you ever noticed how with certain couples love and affection flow so naturally? Indeed, almost effortlessly. There is a good reason for this. These couples have learned to accept one another as they are, which leads to greater intimacy and a more vibrant love flow.
When we don’t accept our loved one for who and how they are—quirks, idiosyncrasies, annoying habits, and all—we are communicating to them that they are not good enough. That they fall short.
Who wants to feel that—particularly in matters of the heart?
Simply put, when you don’t accept your loved one as they are, it dampens the love flow.
Even porcupines know this! With thousands of quills attached to their body, they know that they must pull them in and touch paws, if they want to have a “close” relationship.
If porcupines manage to find ways to “accept” their “loved” ones, quills and all, shouldn’t we be able to as well?
Below are some key practices and mind-sets that will go a long way toward achieving that.
Don’t Try to Change Your Loved One
When you try to change another, you are not accepting them. Yet many of us constantly try to change our loved ones’ traits and habits or opine and advise what they should do differently.
I like neatness and order in our home, but it’s very difficult for my dear, loving wife to get rid of things, and clutter constantly piles up in our garage. In the early years of our marriage, I constantly tried to get her to dispose of unused items in our garage. I complained, pleaded, and even cajoled.
She paid lip service to me for a while and removed some clutter, only to have it reappear days later. When I continued harping, I was quickly met with, “You try taking care of the kids, doing the shopping, doing the laundry… and keeping the garage neat!”
Not exactly a recipe for a loving relationship!
I eventually realized that I was powerless over changing her ways, and that my continually trying to do so impacted our love bond.
As I began accepting my wife for who and how she was—clutter and all—it enhanced the love flow. Our bond is stronger than ever today.
Moreover, my acceptance brought me an unexpected gift. It allowed me to reflect on why (and when) I was so easily