Pick Your Problems

When you choose your partner, you are choosing a specific set of problems that you are likely to have in your relationship for the next 50 years. If you were to have chosen another partner, you would’ve simply chosen another set of problems. Everyone is flawed. There is no perfect partner for you and the “grass is greener” mentality only further drifts you and your partner apart.

When I met my husband in 2010, he was a smoker. He has since been a smoker on and off for the last 10 years. Even saying that, I feel the sense of frustration and anger rising me at the thought of him smoking. I can’t stand cigarettes. I hate to be around people who smoke and just a mild whiff of a cigarette drives me crazy. I can’t stand the thought of him struggling with his health in the future because of his difficulties quitting this habit. At the same time, I knew he was a smoker when I married him. I knew that by marrying him, I was signing on to struggle with that difficulty as well. To this day, when I see him smoke, I immediately get angry. It is a struggle in our relationship that I continue to have to work on. At times, I think to myself “what if he just stopped smoking?” To be perfectly honest with myself, it really doesn’t matter. There are of course other things about my husband that I also work to accept and those are the things that would just become more highlighted. I would likely say to myself, “Great! Now if he would only limit his time in the garage and spend more time with me.” You see my point here.

In the end, when I chose to marry my husband, I also chose to marry him for who he is. I married him with every flaw, quirk, and oddity he holds as a person. If I were to have married someone else, it may not be smoking. Instead, it could be gambling, golf, or even a weird attachment with his mother. Who knows. But the person I chose to marry smokes.

This also goes in the other direction.

When my husband chose to marry me, he chose to deal with a lifelong type A personality constantly pushing him to strive towards self improvement. Let’s be honest for a moment, I am a psychologist. That can’t be easy for anyone to live with!

When getting overwhelmed or irritable with your partner for any of the behavior that you don’t quite appreciate or approve of, remind yourself that the grass isn’t always greener. There is no perfect partner out there. You chose your partners flaws when you chose to be with them. Have some compassion for their flaws and remember, they also chose you.

How can you work towards acceptance with your partners flaws? Do you need to work to improve compassion in your relationship? What flaws do you hold that your partner is forced to manage with you?

Disclaimer: If your partner’s “flaws” negatively impact you or your loved ones on a physical, emotional, or psychological level. . . that is quite a different story. I am NOT encouraging anyone to stay in an abusive, violent, or codependent relationship that is unhealthy for their overall mental well being.

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