Why You Need to Accept Other People’s Imperfections

Robert Terson

Nicki and I will be married 37 years the next time January 14th rolls around. I always tell people I’m so in love with this Woman that I can’t think straight half the time. It’s true. She walks into a room and my knees go weak. No man ever had a better friend. She’s my partner in life; we’re a team. “Bob and Nicki”: you can’t have one without the other. But is she perfect? Of course not; no one is, including yours truly.

Were there times we struggled mightily, came close to throwing in the towel? Sure, but we managed to battle our way through it, we never gave up, refused to give up. And somewhere along the way I fell in love with my wife. That’s the truth; that’s what happened.

People will often ask me: What’s the secret of having a great marriage? This is what I tell them:

Like any form of success, a great marriage is a decision you make. You decide that you’re going to have a marriage that the gods will smile down upon. You decide that you’re going to love and accept this person, despite all the things about her/him that drive you nuts—all the little imperfections…

…and the big ones too.

And sometimes the “big ones” are so huge that you feel downright lost, deprived, starving. You ache, agonize, for what you don’t have, what she can’t give you, will never give you, because it’s just not in her. What do you do when that happens, when you ask yourself: How am I going to survive without that? You ask yourself that question because “it” means so much to you!

You grieve, that’s what you do. You grieve for what you don’t have, can’t get, will never get as long as you stay married to this person. You grieve and love him anyway. Because his positive qualities are such that you know you could never give them up, walk away. That those positive qualities more than make up for what you’re not going to ever get out of the relationship. That you’d wither away and die without him, and you darn well know it…

I laugh when I hear people say marriage is a 50/50 proposition. That is such BS! Great marriage is a 100%/100% proposition, or it’s never going to be “great.” And that’s a decision you make, too. Somewhere along the way I decided I was going to give my All to Nicki, no holds bared.

What does that mean?

It means her welfare is just as important to me as my own, always. It means looking out for her any way I can, like preparing for her financial future when I’m not around anymore, so she’ll never want for anything.

It means that I hold her hand whenever I get the chance—whether we’re walking down the street or lying in bed watching TV. It means I do the laundry, empty the dishwasher, go shopping, take her mother someplace so Nicki can have some breathing space, pick out a card and flowers for no special reason, go clothes shopping with her and pick stuff off the rack for her to try on, and I could go on forever.

It means I don’t let a day go by without saying “I love you” and trying to find some tangible way to show it. It means going zip lining and rappelling down a waterfall when we’re on vacation, even though I’m scared out of my wits. It means she’s number 1, 2, and 3—always, period.

You’re not perfect and neither is she. No one you meet, personally or in business, is going to be perfect either. So accept that fact. If you want to have a great relationship with anyone, you better learn to accept his imperfections. It’s one of the great “secrets” of life.

Be grateful they’re accepting yours! That’s the best way to begin accepting them.

In one of my favorite books, How Can I Get Through to You?—I reviewed it on February 11, 2013—author Terrence Real proffers five essential relational skills. I thought I’d leave you with them to ponder:

How to hold the relationship in high regard despite its imperfections.

How to speak.

How to listen.

How to negotiate.

And how to stay on course independent of your partner’s response.

Good luck with that last one; it’s the toughest of the five.


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