There is no better time than Valentine’s Day to start heating up the passion in your relationship, and part of doing that requires getting rid of your regrets in love. This of course begs the question of what is the most common relationship regret, and one always seems to rise to the top: realizing that you’ll never change the other person. Said another way, trying to mold your partner into someone they’re not is a futile effort that will inevitably result in disappointment.
Often we try so hard to turn our significant others into whom we want them to be that we overlook the special, unique qualities that make them who they are. As a result we become fixated on what they do that bothers us and what we want them to change. Before long all that we can think about are their shortcomings, inadequacies, and annoying habits. This is a downward spiral that can end even the best of relationships. Ultimately what we learn is that trying to get someone to change their stripes is a waste of time and energy.
Recently a friend of mine and his wife were on the brink of divorce after years of trying to work things out. They tried counseling, date nights, among other strategies for saving their marriage. Ultimately though, what it came down to was that they were so busy being upset about what they didn’t find desirable about each other that they forgot why they fell in love in the first place. They wanted each other to be someone they weren’t, and that overshadowed everything else. Only after one of them threatened to walk out did they discover what would change the course of their relationship. As they started to consider what life would be like without each other, they both grew sad and began to talk about how they first met and what drew them together. From there they recanted a long list of happy memories and unforgettable experiences they had enjoyed together. While there had been rough times, there had been far more good times. They realized that their history as a couple was rich and amazing – and what a shame it would be to say goodbye to all of that.
I am pleased to say that my friend and his wife are better than ever right now. Once they started focusing on what was wonderful about each other as opposed to what wasn’t, their relationship took an immediate upswing. It was almost like someone flipped a switch and all the darkness and ugliness was gone. While they fully realize not every day will be bright and beautiful, they have gained a new respect for each other and are heading down the right track.
If you want to eradicate regret from your relationship, never forget what brought the two of you together in the first place. Realize that focusing on the imperfections will lead you nowhere. Instead, relish what is so special about your partner that makes you feel excited, happy, and in love all over again.