One of the things I discovered as a former family law attorney is that love by itself is never enough to have a relationship work. The divorce courts are full of people who love each other.
For example, what good is my love for you if I treat you lousy? It’s worthless. If I want our relationship to work, I need to make sure you feel loved. It’s the experience of love that makes the difference.
So, what creates the experience of love? The experience of love is created by giving the gift of acceptance and appreciation.
Notice how you feel when someone genuinely accepts and appreciates you. Doesn't this feel good? Of course it does. You feel better about yourself and better about life. You also feel better about the other person.
The same thing happens when you accept and appreciate someone else. That person automatically feels better about life and better about you. By giving acceptance and appreciation, you create the experience of love.
Now notice how you feel when someone is non-accepting and critical toward you. Instantly, the experience of love disappears. You get hurt and upset. You put up your walls of protection and automatically resist the person who is non-accepting toward you.
The same thing happens when you are non-accepting toward someone else. That person gets upset, puts up his or her walls of protection and automatically becomes critical and resentful toward you.
Then you get hurt. Your walls of protection get stronger and you become even more judgmental and critical of the other person. Then the other person gets more upset and becomes more critical of you.
Without knowing, you create a cycle of conflict, a cycle of hurting, attacking and withdrawing from each other. This cycle then goes on and on without either person ever noticing his or her role in the problem. It’s this cycle of conflict that creates the suffering in relationships.
To end the cycle of conflict, or to make sure it never starts, you need to make sure the other person feels loved accepted and appreciated. This is the key to having any relationship work.
Unfortunately, this is much easier said than done. Some people are very difficult to accept. Fortunately, acceptance is nothing more than surrendering to the truth. The people in your life are exactly the way that they are, whether you like it or not.