Want a successful relationship? I’ll let you in on a secret.
Successful doesn’t mean “perfect.” Perfect doesn’t exist. It’s how you react to the imperfections that decide what kind of relationship you have.
These “mistake” moments are opportunities for us. We can make choices that support us in deeper intimacy or we can make choices that push us further apart.
In this post, I’ll show you what to do when your partner lets you down so that you can grow in love and open-heartedness as the years roll by.
Who’s Fault Is It?
It’s easy to find fault. It’s always going to be easy to find fault in our partners. We’re human. We make mistakes.
And because we open our hearts to and find ourselves leaning on our partners for support, it can be VERY obvious when they screw something up, make a mistake, or let us down.
But what separates a dissatisfying relationship from a fulfilling one is looking past the fault and finding the loving intention.
Squinting through your partner’s mistakes to see the love that is always present and then choosing to focus on that instead.
I’ll give you an example from my own relationship to show you exactly what I’m talking about.
Every Sunday I gift myself two-dozen roses from the farmer’s market. Perfecto, the flower farmer, gives me a standing deal: $18 for 25 long stem roses.
Anyway, one Sunday morning I woke up exhausted, just flat out pooped. My honey was also exhausted from a busy week and he just wanted to sleep in and relax.
Here were my options:
- I could force myself to get up and go to the farmer’s market even though my body really wanted to rest and I genuinely didn’t feel well.
- I could stay in bed and call Perfecto to tell him to sell the bunch of roses he always puts aside for me. But then I’d be sad to miss out on my beautiful flowers.
- I could ask my sleepy sweetie to go to the market and pick up my roses for me. He would rather be sleeping in but I know how happy he is to make me happy.
So I chose Option #3 and I asked my partner for help — knowing that I had two other back up plan options if he said no.
He mumbled. He grumbled. He yawned.
And then he said yes!
He would go to the market for me and pick up my two-dozen roses and bring them home to make me happy.
Winning Move #1! What a Guy!
Before he left, I gave him specific instructions:
Me: “Perfecto will have some roses put aside for me. But if they’re orange or named ‘Milva’ don’t get those. We had those last week. Get something white, yellow, or pink, okay?”
Him: “Okay. So no ‘Orange Juice’ roses?”
Me: “No, ‘Orange Juice’ is fine. ‘Orange Juice’ is actually a yellow rose with the outer edges lined in orange. Those are fine. Just don’t get ‘Milva’ and we’re all good.”
Him: “Got it. No ‘Milva.’ No orange roses. See you soon.”
20 minutes later my sweetie triumphantly returns, throwing open the front door and projecting in his deepest and sexiest radio announcer voice, “I’m home. I have brought you roses!”
Me: “Oh love! Thank you so much. Wow. I appreciate this so much. I’m just so tired today and I really needed your help. Thank you so much for my beautiful – What’s that?”
Him: (confused) “What do you mean?”
Me: “Those are orange roses. Those are ‘Milva.’ That was the one rose you weren’t supposed to get.”
Him: “Oh Sh*t. They are ‘Milva.’ I thought they were pink! They looked pink.”
Okay, y’all. This is real life.
I was leaning on my partner and depending on him to get this job done for me. I gave him specific instructions to set him up for a successful mission.
And he still screwed it up.
I saw fault. We both saw it. It was there in the room with us and its name was Milva.
Option #1. I could express my frustration with his mistake.
When I was younger in past relationships, I would’ve taken this moment to:
- Imply he was “incompetent” for screwing up the mission
- Pout that he “doesn’t care” enough about me to do it right
- Complain that he “never listens!”
But this would only leave me feeling dissatisfied and him feeling defeated and defensive.
Option #2. I could look past the mistake and find the love.
- I could choose to focus on the fact that I was staring at 25 stunning roses that were mine to enjoy.
- I could choose to focus on the fact that my partner had given me a gift by letting me sleep in and going out into the world to take on this mission to make me happy.
These “mistake” moments are opportunities. We can make choices that support us in deeper intimacy or we can make choices that push us further apart.
So what did I choose?
I chose Option #2. Because not only does this fill my heart with love to see his love reflected back to me but it also fills him with love knowing that he is enough.
Imperfect though we both are, to each other, we are enough.
We look past faults and see the loving intention behind it.
We trust that we are doing our best for each other.
And that’s why we feel fulfilled by our relationship. Not because we’re perfect and don’t make mistakes, but because we choose to look through the mistake to see the love that is always present.
Winning Move #2. My Move.
I made the choice in my heart and I said with a smile, “That’s okay honey. I shall have beautiful orange roses this week. Thank you so much for getting them for me. You really saved the day.”
And you know what he did?
He crawled in bed next to me, gave me a big kiss on the cheek, and said, “You are so beautiful. You want me to put these in vases for you so you can keep resting?”
Me: “Yes. Thank you. That’d be great.”
And the Winning Moves just keep coming. 🙂