Do you sometimes feel as if you have a love/hate relationship with each other? Have you noticed that you can view the same character trait of your partner in completely different ways depending on your mindset?
Over the years in marriage counseling, I have listened to clients in the glow of a new relationship report that their partner is an amazingly responsible person. They see them as a competent, capable doer and their accomplishments are undeniable. They are delighted to be in a relationship with this person.
Then an amazing thing happens. When the first disillusionment hits with their lover, their perception does a 180. Now the same partner, with the same character traits, is described as controlling, pushy, and arrogant.
Just as a coin has two sides, so does every character trait of our mate. Each character trait has both a strength and a weakness. There is a positive side and a downside to every character quality.
Can you count the times you have been aggravated by the downside of a character quality in your partner that previously you truly admired?
I remember David’s steady and stable presence. I’d often refer to him as “my rock”. I admired that he didn’t rush into decisions. He thought things through, researched alternatives and then presented an intelligent case. After disenchantment set in, as it does in every relationship, I started to wonder if he ever did anything spontaneously.
Can you relate? Depending on our frame of mind we are capable of screening out the positive side of our mate’s coin and selectively focusing on the negative side of their coin.
What we often fail to see is that we are the ones who impose different meanings on the same character trait. It’s as if we laser beam in on the downside of our partner’s best quality.
Conscious Lover’s use their emotional energy to ask themselves these personally tough questions rather than ruminating on the downside of their mate’s character traits.
- What is the positive strength of this character trait that I am finding so irritating?
- Why was I attracted to this trait in the first place?
- Is it possible that the trait I now find irritating is something I personally need more of in my life? Is it a trait I need to develop personally?
- Is it possible that what I am finding distasteful in my partner may be something I dislike in myself?
Inevitably if we are at war personally it won’t be long until we are at war interpersonally. Beware of letting the internal conflict within you become a war between you!
Let’s take seriously the challenge of facing our own perceptions. Why?
Because marriage doesn’t rescue us!
It reveals us!
Until the next Conscious Lover’s Blog……