7 Ways to Be More Accepting of Your Partner—and Build a Stronger Relationship

Accept your partner for who they truly are

Being part of a committed relationship shouldn’t mean that you leave the person you were before you met in the dust. While personal growth and improvement is a positive thing, both people in a relationship should feel unconditionally accepted, flaws and all. This means that squeezing the toothpaste from the middle is not a deal breaker, and your partner’s inability to share food without holding a grudge might need to be seen as a lovable quirk instead of grounds for another argument. Miller is quick to point out in her book that this does not include severe issues like physical or verbal abuse. She writes, “Radical Acceptance does not mean your partner has license to take advantage of you. It does not make allowances for behaviors and traits that are patently unacceptable, including acute character flaws (e.g., he seriously lies, cheats, or steals); verbal, emotional, or physical abuse; or any behavior that is threatening or dangerous.”

Vow to love your partner unconditionally

Unconditional love is the ultimate goal of most committed relationships. To love and be known for your true self is a gift that keeps giving, providing endless fulfillment and happiness that permeates all corners of life. It gives you the confidence to achieve your fullest potential, and in turn, gives the safety and security you need to encourage your partner to do the same. Miller writes in her book, “There is no such thing as meeting him halfway when it comes to Radical Acceptance. Radical Acceptance means you always have his back—even when he is wrong. Radical Acceptance is unconditional love—even when it feels unbearably difficult, when you feel deeply hurt or disappointed, or when you feel he is at fault.”

Make time to truly listen to your partner

Making time to really see your partner communicates that you value them and appreciate all that makes them who they are. Miller encourages couples to slow down and truly hear what their partner is saying on a daily basis. She explains in her book, “One of my favorite quotes is by Paul Tillich, the Christian existentialist philosopher, ‘The first duty of love is to listen.’ How often do we really do this? How often do we actively listen to our partners?” She advises her readers, “Do me a big favor: the next time your partner is speaking to you, no matter what it is, just listen. And when I say just listen, I also mean with your eyes; i.e., look at your partner’s face and body. Drop your need to interrupt, or to think about something else, or to steer the conversation in another direction. Just focus on what he is saying, even if you don’t agree with him. Especially if you don’t agree with him.” Are you really listening?