When Sandra and Dave got together as a couple, they both brought with them many things. One of Dave’s hobbies is gourmet cooking. He delights in surprising Sandra with a delicious and gorgeous-looking meal at least once a week.
Sandra is a fabulous organizer. She brought to their relationship a knack for making sure their bills are paid on-time and their projects done efficiently.
They also each brought to their love relationship– which became a marriage– a desire to be close and connected to one another. They came together both willing to communicate in a way that is connecting and to learn from their mistakes.
You might notice that in your love relationship or marriage you and your partner have each brought certain things to the relationship. These might be physical objects such as an antique dresser that was in your family for generations or intangible qualities that could include specialty talents and skills as well as personality traits.
Many of these things that you’ve each brought to your relationship are beneficial to both of you and are conducive to you two creating the kind of love and connection you desire.
What you might not be aware of is one other thing you may also bring to your relationship. This is almost always unintentionally brought…yet it’s often there regardless.
I’m talking about judgment.
Like me, you might not like (or be willing) to admit that you are judgmental but, just like me, you probably are.
It might be the way that your husband snaps at the children, the fact that your girlfriend lets her cat eat off of the dinner table, how much time your wife spends in the bathroom each morning or the blatant manner in which your boyfriend neglected to thank his family for gifts after his birthday.
There are a whole host of potential things about which you might feel judgmental when it comes to your mate.
Try as you might to bite your tongue and keep your judgments to yourself, they seep out– in the form of unrequested advice, whispered comments to others, sarcastic jokes or outright condemnations.
The fact of the matter is this… your judgments are most likely NOT going to change your partner’s choices. What they’re more likely to do is to drive a wedge between you and your loved one and stand in the way of you two creating the kind of relationship you want.
Are all judgments bad?
The confusing thing is that we all make judgments all of the time. A judgment is not in and of itself a bad or harmful thing.
After all, your judgments that it’s dangerous to drink alcohol and drive, that max-ing out your credit card to buy lavish gifts is unwise or that telling your partner that she or he looks fat in that outfit is unkind all make sense to you.
Many of your judgments might even be shared by quite a few other people, even by your partner.
It’s what any of us DO with our judgments is where the trouble can begin.
A judgment is kind of like a preference and it’s often tied in with our personal sets of ethics and morals. This is why some judgments can feel so important to each of us. When we encounter another person– especially if it’s our partner– violate our “rule” for how to live, it’s difficult to just let that go!
Of course, there are times when it’s vital for you to step in or speak up. If you have reliable proof that someone is being abused, robbed or hurt in some form, find a way to help as best as you can.
There is a judgment call to be made about judgments.
In the vast majority of cases, however, we get all worked up, disapproving and indignant about something that is not hurting anybody and is actually none of our business.
The most damaging thing of all is our judgment that our partner is somehow wrong just because we hold a different point of view about how to live.
Know your preferences and allow others their own.
Do yourself, your mate and your relationship a favor and begin to cultivate a new habit. Learn how to acknowledge your preferences, ethics and morals as your own and don’t impose them on anybody else– including your partner.
It can be very self-affirming and empowering to know what you believe in and what feels right and good to you. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this.
However, it can be extremely relationship-affirming to allow your mate to discover his or her own preferences, beliefs and what feels right and good to him or her.
If you find yourself resistant to the different preferences or practices of your mate, you could choose to notice how you are feeling, ask yourself if this is your business and– if it isn’t– then let it go.
If this IS your business and does directly affect you, it’s probably time to have an honest yet open-minded talk to find a resolution that will be okay with both of you.
You might also decide to get curious. From a genuine place of wanting to know more, ask your mate to share with you why this is important to him or her.
What you’ll probably find is that you two aren’t so different about this topic after all. You’ll probably also find that your relationship is closer and more harmonious too.