We are all familiar with the fairy tale ending “And they lived happily ever after.” But can this happen in real life? Sure it can. It all depends on your attitude in your relationship and your point of view. If you interpret this as your partner being perfect then you are going to be woefully disappointed. This disappointment will weigh heavily on the relationship, may even tear it apart. But if you see it as finding someone who is not necessarily perfect but perfect for you, this is something different altogether. Of course your partner will have faults, in this outlook, as will you. The point is to accept each other as humans who inherently have flaws and to work together to circumnavigate those flaws and find ways to be happy together. You need to accept your partner’s issues in a radical way.
Truly, radical acceptance is the key to unconditional love. That certainly doesn’t mean that you should put up with any abuse, neither physical nor emotional. It does mean that when your spouse or partner has left their wet towels on the bed for the umpteenth time that you shake your head and laugh, and instead of having a blow up fight about it, you realize that you aren’t reaching them and need to find another way to communicate how this makes you feel. Part of the difference is between focusing on someone’s flaws and accepting that person for who they really are. Of course if you are going to do this, your partner needs to know about it. In fact they should practice the same in return.
Another important aspect is to accept yourself for who you are, and your partner doing the same. That means accepting your feelings. Some people swallow things that bother them in a relationship in order to keep the peace, but this is where repressed anger comes from and it can poison a relationship in the form of passive-aggressive behavior, sarcasm and more. Instead, both must commit to being honest and open with one another. But find ways to communicate your feelings in a positive way, and in a way where your partner will recognize, understand and be able to accept, perhaps even modify their behavior, or at least come to some sort of understanding and compromise with you. Radical acceptance is being able to love your partner with absolute empathy and compassion. It isn’t keeping them at arm’s length when things get hard but instead letting them in. It’s accepting their faults and even loving them because of their faults, as this is just a part of what makes them who they are. Radical acceptance is meant to free both parties, to feel accepted and loved way deep down, and feel empowered to communicate freely and in a positive way to overcome obstacles to intimacy and grow forever closer. To learn more on how to use this outlook to change your life read, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach.