Give Up Trying to Change the Other Person
The incessant desire to fix or change the other person is one of the biggest thieves of joy. Plus, it causes power struggles within relationships when an issue of control develops. One person feels she cannot love the other unless that person changes. The other feels hurt, inadequate and as though something is wrong with him. The person who wants the change to happen becomes more and more frustrated as the other one withdraws or refuses to change for her. That's where the phrase, "if you loved me enough you would change," comes from.
Finding joy in a relationship means having the ability to love people as they are. Our partners have not been put on Earth to please us, or make us happy. They have been put here to grow, develop and discover who they are. This can be a lengthy and challenging process. And of course there are times when our partners surely display their worst sides. But the surprising thing about change is that the less we push and disapprove of others, the faster they are able to change because they don't have to resist us.
Learn How to Really Listen
Speaking of giving generously, there is no better way of giving to another than really listening. Most of the time we hear what our partners are saying, but have no idea how to listen. Listening involves getting out of your own mind and truly being there with the other person. It means stopping the little voice inside your head (the one that always comments or thinks about what it is going to say next). It means stopping the inner arguer and becoming quiet and available. When you really listen to another, in that moment, you have given up your own expectations of what you want them to say or to be, and are able to be present for them. This is an enormous gift you are giving. In fact, to many, being really listened to feels like being loved.