Many clients come to me and ask, “How Can I accept them? I don’t respect what they believe or think. I cannot accept this.”
We then usually talk about the emotions respect and acceptance.
Respect and acceptance are not just something that happen – we create them.
We create them with the how we think about the other person.
You may not respect their beliefs, ideas, ideology, way of communicating or life choices. But are those things and choices the person? Is the person worthy of respect? Why? Why not?
Sometimes we cannot respect another person for whatever reason. Then be honest with yourself and decide what that means for the relationship.
Sometimes we can respect them and just don’t like their decision or change. Be honest about that too.
In my relationship, I respect my husband for his loyalty. I respect him for his commitment. I respect him for his courage.
At the same time I don’t necessarily like his beliefs. I don’t need to like his beliefs in order to respect him. There are so many aspects I can respect about him. Sure there are gong to be areas where he is less than perfect and harder to “respect”. But it is still my choice. I may choose to respect him because it creates a result I want in my relationship. I may choose to respect him and not agree at all.
Acceptance is similar. Just because I accept that there is a faith transition doesn’t mean that I have to like the reasons behind it. Just because I accept where my spouse is on a certain topic doesn’t mean I have to agree with that stance.
Acceptance and respect are not condoning. They are just choosing to accept what is actually happening and see that person as a person worthy of respect.
Being able to accept the changes to the relationship and respect the other person (even if you do not agree) can really help release a lot of pressure in a mixed faith marriage.
I have noticed when a spouse feels disrespected , it is not at all uncommon that they are not respecting their spouse in return. You see our spouse cannot actually make us feel respected or accepted. When we struggle feeling respected and accepted. it is usually because we are not respecting and accepting ourselves. It is not uncommon that our spouse may very well respect us, but we are unable to feel it and believe it because of the lack of self acceptance and self respect.
Do you want to talk about where you struggle with acceptance and respect? Let’s talk!