Some days we see eye to eye,  at times we disagree, But that’s because we both accept you’re you….and I am me” As my wife and I celebrated our anniversary this weekend, this was one of the passages that came out of the card I gave her. While it is a simple passage, I believe it says so much more! Often times one of the biggest reasons why marriages and relationships fall apart is because we get with the person not for who they are, but for who we hoped that they would be.

It’s almost as if we purchase someone “as is” and then want to return them for being “damaged!”

Sometimes our failure to truly embrace a person for who they are keeps us from being able to love them at the highest level because we continue to wait on another person to show up. This is why so many marriages end with these phrases…follow me!

“We grew apart.”

It is my opinion that people don’t just grow apart; people just don’t put in the effort that it takes to stay connected and together. Many times that’s because we get frustrated with the flaws of our mates while ignoring the great qualities. Instead of embracing the fact that he is a great provider and father, we focus on the fact that sometimes he leaves his pants in the middle of the floor. Instead of focusing on how much she supports you and how much she does for your family, we focus on the fact that sometimes she can be a little emotionally needy or that she doesn’t have the body of a fitness model. When we focus on everything negative about our mates and we become less conscious of staying engaged then that’s when we lose connectivity and “grow apart.”Simply put if you don’t want to grow apart then grow together.

“They changed.”

Although we evolve as people after a certain age, usually after about age thirty, the core of who we are usually remains the same. One reason many people act as if their mate just did a flip-flop is because during the dating phase the desire for the ring and the happily ever after blinded them from actually seeing the true values and the core of the person they were dating. The ring was so shiny that the glare covered up the flaws the suitor had, the baggage they brought into the relationship, and the set of core values that were not shared. If we want to have more longevity in our marriages, we have to take the time to truly get to know someone on the front end. We have to see how they respond in multiple situations, under stress, through happiness, through highs and through lows. We have to examine who people are in totality, not just who they are when things are hot and steamy. When we do this, we realize that most people don’t change, marriage just magnifies who they already were.

“We fell out of love.”

I believe that the romantic version of lust has been substituted for what this idea of love truly is. Love is a verb and an ACTION word. It is expressed in what we DO and how we serve one another. Most times when people say they fell out of love what they’ve really done is fallen out of lust. Suddenly the butterflies turn into gnats and the fireworks turn into dull flames and as a result we want out. This is because we don’t realize that if we seek to serve instead of being served and if we consciously make the decision to keep our mates happy, then even when the fireworks aren’t there the love will still remain. The action word LOVE is what pushes you to put in the effort when it doesn’t come as naturally anymore. Falling out of love isn’t an option when you don’t want it to be. “There’s no such thing as “perfect.” but I know this much is true, Nothing feels more right than sharing life and love with you” That was the final stanza of the card I spoke about in the beginning and it’s correct! There is no such thing as a perfect relationship, but we can make sure our relationships thrive when we accept people for who they are, focus on the things we love about them, and put in the effort to stay connected!