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The Importance of Acceptance in a Relationship

Acceptance means living with and valuing differences in others. It is an important part of your relationship with your partner. It can also help you and your partner adjust to the changes that parenting brings.

What is acceptance?

Acceptance is about valuing your partner’s differences. It is about being flexible, knowing how to compromise and understanding that people make mistakes. Acceptance does not mean always agreeing with your partner, it is OK to agree to disagree, but it means believing that your partner is trying to do the right thing.

Acceptance is not about tolerating harmful behavior. If you are in a relationship that involves family violence, call a helpline, seek support and do whatever you need to do to ensure your safety and your children’s safety.

Why acceptance is important in your relationship with your partner?

Acceptance helps to keep your relationship healthy, leading you towards greater intimacy and care for each other. When you and your partner feel accepted, you are more willing to listen to and understand each other’s perspectives and suggestions. All of this means acceptance creates a healthier, happier and more positive environment for the whole family.

Tips for strengthening acceptance:

Spend time on your relationship

  • Spend time together on shared interests.
  • Ask about your partner’s interests and activities and join in when you can.
  • Do things to show your partner your love and appreciation.
  • Think of activities you did together when you first met.
  • Talk with your partner about happy times you have had together.
  • Read more about healthy relationships for parents and partners.

Focus on solving problems

  • If you have a problem, think about what you want to change.
  • Invite your partner to help solve the problem, without blaming or talking about what your partner should or shouldn’t have done.
  • Identify positive ways you can solve the problem, even if your partner does not take part.
  • Get help from others if you need to.
  • Read more about problem-solving with your partner.

Be generous with your understanding

  • When you are talking and listening with your partner, remember that it can sometimes be difficult to explain what you want and how you feel to someone else.
  • Encourage your partner to open up by asking open-ended questions and not interrupting.
  • Ask your partner to explain or give more information if you do not understand what is being said.
  • Listen, without defending your own position or behavior.
  • Acknowledge your partner’s point of view even if you do not agree.
  • Avoid jumping to conclusions, blaming or criticizing your partner.
  • Assume the best in your partner.

Getting help

If you and your partner are finding it hard to accept each other’s differences or you are concerned about your partner’s behavior, it is important to get help. You could speak to a trusted friend, doctor or professional counselor. It is good for you and your partner to get help as a couple. But if your partner is not interested, it is still worth seeking support, even by yourself.