Do you ever feel that the differences are keeping you apart? Don’t!
Exploring each other’s passions will bring you closer. Your partner will appreciate your efforts and you may learn something new. You may learn that you actually like participating in your partner’s hobbies or passions.
Let’s start with religion, since it is such a huge topic for many people. Whether you are from different religions or if one of you does not participate in any religion you can still have a loving strong connection. The Dalai Lama who is a man of peace and love, tells us to accept and love each other; to gain peace through our lives and to accept other religions as equals. One of his closest friends was Thomas Merton in Louisville Kentucky. Although they did not practice the same religion, they accepted each other’s religious beliefs and took the time to learn about each other’s religious beliefs. They had a great admiration for each other. We can all learn from this friendship. Thomas Merton traveled to China and Tibet to learn and the Dalai Lama traveled to the U.S. and other countries to learn about other religions.
If these two people can bond through their learning and respect then you can too. Being open to learning allows you to grow as a human being. Accepting and respecting other people to have their own personal beliefs also allows you to grow as a loving more peaceful person. Peace, love, respect and acceptance are four bonds that hold people together in relationships.
Let’s begin with peace. We all strive for a peaceful home to come home to after a long hard day at work. We wish for a peaceful relationship with our children, extended family and our significant other. Peace brings happiness and tranquility into our lives, which is important for relaxation. It would be amazing if we never had stress or turmoil in our lives, but unfortunately we will always have instances in our lives that bring unhappiness. If we reflect on the situations, we can heal with time and learn from those circumstances to make our lives more full.
Healing is the first step to Peace. Healing begins with dealing with the pain of the occurrence, and then usually anger, then acceptance but it shouldn’t end there. We should reflect on the situation. When reflecting think about what happened, how it happened, what you learned from this experience and what can you do with what you have learned. Learning isn’t the last step. Take what you have learned and use it to make your life better and more peaceful. (I will address this in another article).
Love: who doesn’t want to be loved? All of us desire to be loved by someone, whether it’s a parent, our children, a spouse/partner or friends. We all need that affection from someone. Love is not unconditional. Love should not have to be unconditional. Take off your blinders. Cheating, lying, being abusive (physical, emotional, verbal) can cause people to fall out of love with you. You need to give love as much as you get it. If you give and give in a relationship and you get nothing in return, how can you be expected to continue to give when the other is denying you of what you most desire? This is where many relationships fall apart. As time goes by, people lose interest. The day to day chores become the reason to not take time to express your love for each other. A hug, a look, the touch of a hand or a kiss can make a huge difference. That is something you can fix. I’ve addressed this in past articles. Please read them.
Respect: Everyone wants respect. Whether it’s from the person you say hello to and expect a response, someone holding the door open when your hands are full, your partner speaking in a loving tone when disagreeing, your child answering your questions or finishing a chore you requested, or the person blocking your exit moving a little to allow you to move into the lane of traffic. But, we also expect our partner/spouse to be respectful by being honest, loyal, talking with us when a problem arises, spend time with us and share their dreams with us. Yes, sharing your deepest dreams and secrets is a sign of respect. If you respect someone enough to share your innermost thoughts and feels, you expect that person to respect you enough not to share with anyone else.
And finally, Acceptance: Accepting your partner/spouse’s beliefs, dreams, goals, thoughts and desires is vital. You don’t have to agree to change your beliefs, dreams, goals, thoughts or desires, just respect them for theirs. If you strongly believe in spending a day of the week in prayer with a church, but your partner/spouse does not; you may have to find a compromise. Each person should be willing to ‘try’ the other person’s choice of how to spend the day. Effort is the key. It is important to find your peace with the differences, by expressing your love and respect for them. If after each person has experienced the other’s choice and a compromise can be made by participating every other weekend in each other’s preference, or each person decides that it’s not something they want to participate in again then each can do their own thing on that day. You need to find your compromise for your situation. There is something to be said for doing your own thing sometimes. It gives you time to relax with people who share the same talent, goals, or fun times; such as a book club. It can also give you time to think and reflect. It’s ok not to share every part of your relationship as long as you are open and honest with your spouse/partner.
There should be no secrets or deceit; you should respect the person you love.
Breathe, relax, think and then act!
I wish you all the best success in your relationships!