As I read “What Do You Secretly Admire About Your Partner?” by Psychologytoday.com, I decided to be deliberate about figuring out what I liked about my companion, I grasped that his weaknesses and strengths were all one and I would have to learn to identify and communicate exactly what I felt and work on a balance.
Recently our focus has been on a “us marriage” instead of a “you and me marriage”, identifying how our family histories inform our present behaviors, and how to navigate conflict well. As I thought and prayed, I received a message….my spouse’s strengths and weaknesses are uniquely designed for me.
My spouse worked well under pressure, if something didn’t work he was looking to solve the problem, he’s compassionate, and can make others feel comfortable.
When I thought about his weaknesses, I completely shut down. I knew that there was no way that I could negotiate or train away them. Dealing with flaws and strengths was a personal journey that he and I would have to make individually and then come together on one accord. As humans, we are sure to stumble and fall, there is no such thing as a perfect person…would I be willing to take the good with the bad…could I learn to? Marriage is inherently difficult, and we could not resent it but receive the difficulties. Was there something in my spouse that was willing to go through the difficulties with me?
When the honey moon phase is over in a relationship, we in fact come to terms with who we really are and often, we find out who our spouse is. Our strengths and weaknesses are often one and the same. The very things that our partner fell in love with are some of the very same things that in turn could bother them. For example, your partner may be prone to pessimism (no one likes a negative person) and always expects things to fall apart but he always has a Plan B to fix things (a positive).
In our relationships, the very things that drive us insane about our romantic partner are often associated with underlying strengths that the person has. –psychologytoday.com
In examining myself and the different stress responses, my reaction to stressful situations or conflict is fight mode. In fight mode, my initial reaction is fear and not love. When overwhelmed with excessive stress, life becomes a series of short-term emergencies. I lose the ability to relax and enjoy the moment. A “burnout” is inevitable. My spouse on the other hand is freeze mode and flight mode. In these moments, we find each other to be so frustrating but the positive to this is that – fighters are confrontational, but in other circumstances I am often assertive and a strong decision maker. My spouse might tend to retreat, but in other circumstances he is very accommodating, flexible, patient, and a very strategic problem solver.
After being in unhealthy relationships, for the first time I realized I didn’t have to fight any more. In watching him, I saw that being confrontational was something that I didn’t have to be. His patience with others was something that I had always admired.
My family challenges my want for control and often pushes me to shift my perspective to focus on what’s most important. The small things can often build into mounds if not pruned but understanding that people and situations are not perfect; I see how God can use weaknesses to create something positive in others…in me.
-that was FREEING.