Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I sat snuggled together, holding hands. We got on the topic of why our relationship is so good. The main thing that came up is that neither of us tries to control the other. We accept each other as we are, and encourage each other to explore our own interests. We give constructive feedback, but don't criticize. We trust each other, and are not jealous of friends and relationships the other person has. We enjoy being together, whether it be doing errands, building bookcases or just being in the same room, each doing our own thing. We tease each other sometimes, but only in fun; we never cut the other person down. We say "I love you" five, ten, or twenty times a day.
I think we enjoy being together because we aren't critical. I think we aren't critical because we are each comfortable with ourselves, and can therefore be more accepting of the other. I think alot of people are critical of others because they are not comfortable owning their own faults, so they try to make others look worse in comparison. We are human. Having faults and making mistakes is part of who we are, and that's okay. Haranguing the other person for making a mistake makes them feel worse, and damages the relationship.
People say that relationships are hard work. That isn't necessarily so. People make relationships hard by not accepting the other person for who they are. People do things that hurt the other person, all in the name of 'love'. That isn't love. That is jealousy, bitterness or revenge. Love is gentle and caring, constructive and accepting. When you say or do something to hurt your partner, ask yourself why? Or perhaps, what are you avoiding by doing it? A relationship like the one my husband and I share is easy, because we let it be. It takes both parties to make a relationship like this. We recognize that few things are worth fighting about. We just accept our differences, and move on. We recognize that in most situations, there is a win-win option, and that is the one we take.
People with chronic illness and/or chronic pain often have issues with fatigue. Why waste precious energy in conflict with others? Accept yourself for who you are. Accept others for who they are. No one is perfect, and accepting our imperfections as a part of what makes us who we are is a very freeing experience. It takes away the need to be critical of yourself and others, or to control another person. It opens up the way for loving and nurturing relationships.