You know those articles or book you read that totally change your perspective on things? I found one of those today. I chose this article to review & analyze for an assignment for my Individual & Family Life Development class and I fell in love with it. It just really spoke to me.
Here is the link to the article if you wish to read it: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201003/the-expectations-trap
Obviously, Sterling and I have a good relationship. A really good one. But sometimes when we fight, I over-analyze everything and freak out and think that we've got major issues. He reminds me all the time that we're going to disagree and we're going to fight, and yeah, we're going to do those things for the rest of our life. It's what couples do and it's okay. It doesn't mean we're going to get divorced in a few years.
This article talks about how our society conditions us to believe that our relationships should be perfect, and if they're not, we've got to change them. We are conditioned to think that we have to strive for perfection in every aspect of our life and if something isn't meeting our very specific ideal, then we have to change it. This ends up leading us to think we've got to change the flaws in our relationships, and guess what? We're a very entitled society (always thinking that we 'deserve' better), so this ends up usually leaving us thinking that our partner is the flawed one, rarely ourselves.
Our society gives us too many choices on everything, so we get used to the idea of always making choices to improve our happiness. The constant appraisal of our personal life to improve happiness creates a heightened sensitivity to problems that arise in our relationships. We think we need to be happy 24/7, and that it's our partners job to fulfill our happiness. So when we're unhappy, we want to immediately make a new choice that's going to 'fix' our problem, rather than just recognizing that sometimes things aren't perfect and we just have to find the good in everything. With relationships, we have to remember our commitment to our partner and what that means and entails. Commitment is the ability to sustain an investment, to honor values over momentary feelings. This means sticking through the hard times and not expecting your partner to change and find a way to fix your every concern, or not wanting to leave the relationship when things are hard, thinking that there must be something better out there.
I've been guilty of all these mistakes at one time or another. I need to accept 'flaws' in our relationship. I need to stop thinking that Sterling needs to make things better when we do have problems. I need to stop appraising our relationship so much. I need to just let things be, and enjoy the fact that we're happy and we love each other, and that we're committed. And those things can overcome anything.