In his book Relationship Rescue, psychologist and TV show host Phil McGraw reinforces what I’ve been saying about acceptance, so I will quote at length from this book.
“The number one need for all people, including you and your partner, is the need for acceptance. The number one fear among all people, including you and your partner, is that of rejection. The need for acceptance is so profound that I would venture to say that most, if not all, issues that cause conflict in a relationship ultimately come down to one or both partners feeling rejected—and, in turn, wanting to feel accepted. (Incidentally, in his book he points out that a partner who’s been betrayed often has a fear of being rejected again. I, HPK., would say that fear itself needs to be accepted, as well, and that will help one recover from the hurt, and forgives in Jesus’ name.)
“So the message should be obvious. There should be no higher calling for you than to meet your partner’s need for acceptance. If you want peace and tranquility, you must approach the task of managing your intimate relationship with a general spirit of acceptance. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?
“But the problem is that when relationships get sideways, the spirit of acceptance is the first thing that goes. You get upset over an event in your relationship, you get a chip on your shoulder, you get angry, you get frustrated—and as a result you soon find yourself behaving in a way that makes your partner feel unaccepted. And once you do that, once you send the message that you are rejecting rather than accepting, he or she begins to feel so unacceptable that withdrawal or retaliation takes place—and the war is on. (Or one partner decides—“for economic reasons”—to go work overseas. We have a relative whose wife works in Hong Kong; he says it’s often because of relationship problems that a spouse will do that, entrusting the kids to relatives or the remaining spouse.–HPK)
“The spirit of acceptance is a core requirement for nourishing a reconnection. When you exhibit a spirit that indicates that you accept your partner, you’re saying that even though you may not like everything your partner is doing, things are still okay; we’re going to get along with each other. You’re saying that despite our differences in personality and temperament, despite all the things I sometimes wish you were or weren’t, the bottom line is that I accept you for who you are, and will always be there for you.” (Remember your wedding vows in church, and “Love suffers long and is kind,” like God, revealed in Jesus. This does not mean, however, that you don’t need to confront wrong-doing, with an “I message.”)
This all may seem odd or confusing to you, because acceptance is often taken for tolerance. If you, or a group you’re part of, would like some coaching in this, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0995-591-2644.