29th November, 2013
It’s really nice to look back and see that people are beginning to understand the demands and structure of relationships better. When you compare some kinds of counsel given sometimes in the past, you would understand why relationships were primarily one-sided. The responsibility of making it work rested so much on one party while the joy of its success radiated through a whole generation- what a load.
I was being careful not to start talking about COMPATIBILITY but there is no way I can successfully address the issue of complementing your spouse without touching on the ‘misconception’-compatibility.
Shallow-minded adults find solace in the expression “we are not compatible”. You hear cases of divorce, infidelity, domestic violence, separation, etc. under the guise of incompatibility. The other day, I asked a woman why she does not pick up her home phone each time I rang and she said “I don’t live there anymore. I’m back with mom; the marriage did not work because we are two different people- I mean we are not compatible at all”. Yes of course! Two different people will sure behave differently, like things differently, see things differently and do most things their own unique ways. Do people want to marry clones? Life does not necessarily work that way.
Sometimes, some guys are lucky to tie with mates of similar interest but believe me this is not why the relationship is successful. Besides, where is the saying that “variety is the spice of life”? Having watched different couples in specific situations, it’s crystal clear that people make relationships work.
Nature has a way of blending couples over time though and physical appearance with character may start to mingle and either result in a totally new bond or tilt toward the stronger/more influential personality. It’s good to know that this is a process and can be quite slow in some cases. Surprisingly, blending may take different forms; one is when both parties have willingly agreed to tolerate and accept each other while the other form comes as a result of sheer compromise- someone is ready to let some things go for the good of the relationship. Whichever way it comes, seeing that there is desire and willingness to co-exist gives extra strength for trust.
Your focus should therefore shift from finding and loving someone who is compatible with you to basking in the joy of complementing your love. Relationship would never cease to be compared with a puzzle- it has many parts that come together to form the big picture. Being able to complement then puts you in the position to fit the missing bits in order to get the artistry ready for admiration. This is when we say that ‘good relationships do not just happen; people make them what you see’.
I once worked with a woman who does almost everything for her family with her able bodied husband only playing a support role. Although she moaned about it most of the time, I got to know that the man is a fantastic home keeper. As a matter of fact, the children love to be with him alone while their hunter mom works several shifts to bring money home. You might consider it a reversal role but the lesson from this woman is her courage to accept who she married and her decision to support and cover his weaknesses. Outsiders will only see the big picture- a happy family but no one really knows who does what. You could walk into a family home and find it extremely tidy with decorations intact and flowery scent clasping your breath but you have no idea that it was the man who did the job. Another family cruising in a flamboyant ride may leave you wondering how ‘fat’ the man’s bank account is meanwhile the car was bought by the wife.
Complementing in the area of character and strength seems to be indispensable. Having a spouse that works hard to cover your weaknesses and present a better picture of you is indeed a plus. We are talking about two adults with different skills which may be innate or learned coming together to make each other proud. What this means in essence is: stop complaining and whining about what your spouse is not good at. The beauty of having both of you under one roof is to behold and enjoy the contribution of each other.
You can also complement each other by giving compliments. As simple as it sounds, it’s incredible to know that no one: no matter how old they may be can out grow the need to be appreciated. When the parents of a trouble child approached me some time ago for advice, I told them, “Go and shower him with praises; acknowledge every little effort he makes and treat him as an important fellow. Few months later, they put a letter in the post to say it worked like miracle”. People don’t like to be reminded of what they didn’t do well even when they know they are at fault- what a life. Try cautioning your teenage child and you’ll hear him/her say “you are nagging mom” but they can never be tired of “I’m proud of you” when they behave or do well, not to mention when you take a step further to reward their gestures.
Complimenting your spouse tells him/her ‘you are better than me in this regard’, and everyone loves to hear that.
…..Continues next week.