April Yvette Thompson is everything I could've asked for and more.
When we started talking, I wanted to know more about this beautiful soul. She was unknown, yet familiar. My political opposite, but with the same values. She's black and proud, I'm white and it doesn't matter.
I determined that no matter what she said, I would accept it as part of who she was. There was no judgement. I wanted to know more about her.
It was the beginning of an amazingly stimulating relationship.
One minute I was learning what is what like to grow up as a black girl in America, the next I was falling in love.
Our letters back and forth became video chats. The hours passed into days. The days into months. It all flew by so fast.
We didn't just talk. We grew. We overcame fears. We dispelled stereotypes. We understood. We accepted. We loved.
The intellectual connection was off the proverbial charts.
Our soul connections were so intense, I could feel what she was feeling on another continent.
It would've been one thing to meet in person and share this deep of a bond, but ours was unlike anything I've ever known before. It was (and is) indescribable.
We built a relationship across an ocean, so beautifully compelling that she returned to a place she swore off years ago.
To marry me.
I said from the beginning that I would love her like God does. Unconditionally.
It's taught me a great deal about how to love a wife. Loving a person as they are, accepting, growing, forgiving, and learning. Together.
Accepting is key. It's not trying to change someone and being frustrated when they don't comply. It's loving them as they are. It's feeling their fears, and providing a space to resolve those fears so they don't destroy the relationship.
Accepting is providing an environment rich for personal growth. It's seeing your person completely; all they need for all they can be. It's allowing your partner to be vulnerable.
It was easy to accept April for who she is. She is an amazing woman. I didn't look for faults, I saw her humanity.
Accept each other.
Growing is necessary for your future. It's allowing your partner to influence you. It's understanding that people do change, because they want to. (Behavior stems from identity. We do those things in accordance with who we think we are.)
Fertilize that growth. Make it a practice to outdo your partner's kindness. Respond better to them than they do to you, and watch how they bloom into their potential.
Expect the best. I don't mean hold your partner to an impossible standard; I mean you get what you look for. If you're constantly looking for the best in your partner, you'll constantly find it. And when you speak to that best, you get more of it.
Forgiving is crucial for any and all relationships to continue.
Forgiving is not getting a pass because I said "I'm sorry."
People say they can forgive, but not forget. I have news for you: that's not forgiving.
Forgiving requires absolute love. The dictionary defines forgive as to excuse an offense without exacting penalty or redress.
That means we forget about the offense. It's no longer an issue, the relationship continues as if it never happened. The offense doesn't get brought up again. Ever.
You can learn the lesson without allowing the offense to become a filter whereby your partner's actions are scrutinized. Trying to forgive and not forget means the offense is harbored in the background. It will fester.
Learning your partner comes full circle as part of accepting. It's seeing their quirky humanity and loving them for it. It's knowing how they like their coffee. It's understanding them. It's hearing what they do and don't say.
It's a process. It takes time, and when done right, takes a lifetime. It's to be enjoyed. A former employer once told me,
"we're not complaining, we're training".
Meaning each mistake was an opportunity to learn more about the job. The same thing applies to your relationship. Each quirk you see in your partner is an opportunity to learn more about them. It's something else to love.
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Jon Newton is TheRapportCoach. He teaches people how to use the neuroscience behind relationships to create extraordinary experiences between humans. From personal to business relationships, Jon helps humans navigate humanity.