An important reason for being in a relationship is to feel understood and respected, that our partner know who we REALLY are and that they accept our weaknesses alongside our strengths.
To Understand and Respect our Differences
Exercise A rough guide to your partner
An important reason for being in a relationship is to feel understood and respected - feeling that our partner knows who we really are and respects us.
As we learn more about each other, we become more aware of our differences and similarities - in background, likes and dislikes and so on. Acknowledging and respecting our differences plays an important part in achieving a genuine sense of togetherness. Knowing and respecting each other as individuals, makes it easier to stay connected as a couple.
Making the effort to remember your partner’s likes and dislikes for example can make all the difference when you want to show your partner that you really care. If you know your partner adores Chinese food but isn’t that fussed about pizza, choosing a Chinese shows that you’ve made the effort to think about them and what makes them happy.
Use the questions in this exercise to see how much you know about your partner. How many questions you get right is not a reflection of the state of your relationship, so don’t worry if you find that you are unable to answer many of them. These questions are only a starting point; there will always be more to find out about each other – it’s not a competition!Start Exercise
Exercise The Flipside
Accepting strengths and weaknesses in each other plays an important part in being able to live happily as a couple. Accepting the not-so-good bits can seem like a hard task, especially when it feels as though the bad stuff outweighs the good stuff about your partner.
Getting into the habit of being negative can build up without us noticing. If we focus on the negative aspects of our partner we’re slowly programming ourselves to experience our relationship negatively. Unless the habit is broken, it distorts our relationship and it becomes harder and harder to see the good stuff.
On the other hand, positive thoughts about each other will have a strengthening effect; they help to build our partnership. One of the most powerful and healing strengths of a good relationship is the knowledge that our partner accepts us just as we are with all our flaws and failings.
To reach a happy balance, we need to be able to move from complaining about our partner's flaws to reframing how we see our partner. This doesn’t mean being unrealistic. It means finding a way of accepting that: for every positive quality there’s likely to be a not-so-positive flipside. You can’t have one without the other!Start Exercise