5 Ways to Accept Others as They Are
- Dr. David B. Hawkins The Marriage Recovery Center
- 2014 21 Oct
“She is intolerable,” Kellen said sharply during a recent Marriage Intensive. He had just listed a number of traits of his wife Audrey that he wished were different.
I had allowed him to vent. He needed to get it off his chest, but I also knew we would also soon be talking about her list of issues with him.
Couples come to The Marriage Recovery Center with a laundry list of complaints about their mate. They have collected grievances, stewed on them for years until the pot boils over. One of them finally says they can no longer live with the complaining.
Some of issues seem quite legitimate and worthy of our time. There are significant issues in marriage that need to be discussed and dealt with effectively. Many of them, however, seem petty and insignificant.
We would all do well to sit back and decide if the issues we complain about are truly worthwhile issues for our focus and our emotions. At some point in our work I talk about the men and women whose spouses have left them largely because unbridled emotion and the barrage of complaints.
“I just worked with a man who had everything,” I said to a couple recently. “He had a great job, a high income and three lovely children. A house many would die to have. But he complained and complained and complained until she finally left him.”
“What do you think happened next?” I asked the couple.
“He did back flips to get her back,” Audrey said quickly.
“What do you think happened, Kellen?” I asked.
“No question about it,” he answered quickly. “Her issues were no longer issues. He wanted his wife back. He would do anything to get her back.”
“You are both right,” I said. “It is so easy to be critical of ourselves and others,” I continued. “But, when we get away from our mate for a bit we regain perspective. We lose our mate and we wonder what we were thinking. The issues that seemed so big now become miniscule.”
Kellen and Audrey both looked at each other and smiled.
“We can be pretty tough on each other,” Audrey said. “I need to remember that he’s a pretty good man.”
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“I need to do the same,” Kellen said. “I know I can slip into complaining very easily. I need to accept my wife.”
“I think we could get rid of a lot of our struggles if we decided what issues were really big enough to make an issue,” Audrey added.
Scripture, not surprisingly, has much to say on the topic of acceptance. We only have to look closely at the life of Christ to see his attitude of acceptance of others. The Apostle Paul has these words to say on the topic: “Accept one another, then, as Christ has accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:7).
Let’s look a little more closely at this verse and its application to us.
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First, consider how we have been accepted by Christ. Scripture tells us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). In our depravity—and each of us has lived a depraved life---Christ died for us. He accepts us, loves us and continues to work in us to sanctify us.
Second, consider how we are no better than others. We have no place to judge others. We are either guilty of the very actions we criticize in others, or are certainly capable of doing what they have done. We have no room to boast or brag about our accomplishments. Be honest about who you are and what you are capable of doing.
Third, consider that others need our acceptance. People are desperate for acceptance. We all long to be cared for in our humble situation. We long to be transparent with others and have them still accept us. We want to reveal the truths of our lives and have others still deem us worthy of respect. We long for people’s friendship and acceptance.
Fourth, consider the gifts and wonders of others. A close look at others reveals something worthy of respect. If we really see people for who they are we will find something to care about in them. Look closely. Listen carefully. Ask questions about their life and value them for who they are.
Finally, consider that accepting them leads to being accepted. It is generally true that when we accept others and show them respect, they will do the same for us. “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). This is not only our duty, but wise counsel as well. If we treat others the way we want to be treated, we will probably be treated the way we want!
Acceptance is a huge topic, not easily understood or practiced. Treating others with acceptance will be good medicine for those in your relationship circle, and good for you as well.
We are here to help and offer phone/ Skype counseling on issues related to this article. We would love to help bring change to you, your mate and your marriage. Please go to our website, www.marriagerecoverycenter.com and discover more information about this topic, watching my video series, 30 Days to Change and Intervention. Please send responses to me at [email protected] and also read more about The Marriage Recovery Center on our website. You’ll find videos and podcasts on sexual addiction, emotionally destructive marriages, codependency and affair-proofing your marriage.
Publication date: October 21, 2014