“The betrothed and accepted lover has lost the wildest charms of his maiden by her acceptance. She was heaven while he pursued her, but she cannot be heaven if she stoops to one such as he!” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
At my local Peet’s Coffee shop, I often encounter 2 sisters (Laura & Vicky), who convene every week for sisterly bonding and affection. They always exude a vibrant and playful energy with the most infectious sense of humor and laugh, so I dub them the jokester twins. On my last encounter with them, Laura handed me a little book (about 4 X 2 inches) published in 1940 with the title “What Men Know About Women.” As I was flipping through the book eager to find some ancient wisdoms, to my surprising discovery, the pages were completely blank, devoid of any words. The book’s message that men know nothing about women (and visa versa) brought a big laugh among us, and it really made my day.
We all agreed that not much has changed since that blank book was published in 1940: men are men and women, women. With no words on the inside pages (just a simple title on the cover), the book spoke the truth about the dynamics of men and women. Not only did the book bring a good laugh, but it also made me think about my relationship with my husband. It helped me realize that all of the times I had complained and nagged to my husband about how he doesn’t “get me” and over analyzed why he said this or thought that, I could have used that wasted energy to just enjoy his company.
For all the money and time we spend in the therapist’s office talking about better communication skills to save the marriage, if we work on just accepting and appreciating our gender differences, we might actually have a better chance of relationship success and reduce the divorce rate. Acceptance of our differences is not about resignation, but it’s about discovering the person in a new light, as Eckhart Tolle says, “Acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it brings something entirely new into this world. That peace, a subtle energy vibration, is consciousness.” “Peace and subtle energy vibration” bring our relationships to a more closer and loving state.
Like oranges and apples, when we can accept the other person as simply different, i.e. that their minds are just hard wired differently, then the relationship turns into one of appreciation rather than frustration. If we can accept without question that in nature the sun rises on the east and sets in the west and take comfort in that, why can’t we just accept and take comfort in the personality traits of another? As we do not need to know why the sun operates the way it does, we do not need to know why someone is quiet, shy or gregarious. If we revel in the mysteries of the other person, it might actually make the relationship more interesting. Life is already complicated enough, so we do not need to make it more by overthinking how the opposite gender functions.
When we trust life and our partner by providing unconditional love and acceptance, amazing things can unexpectedly happen, perhaps one day you will find the cheap husband bringing you a diamond ring or taking you on a destination vacation, as Wayne Dyer says, “give love and unconditional acceptance to those you encounter and notice what happens.”
When we understand the difference, our emotional and verbal response is filled with love and compassion, which only fosters a blossoming relationship that continues to grow. More importantly, when we choose to embrace rather than criticize, we no longer take their thoughts and words personally, like an attack on who we are. My husband has always been the very quiet observer, and often I took his quiet demeanor as being apathetic toward my own emotional crutch, which only brought negative feelings in me about my him, and overtime, I know this harbored feeling will become cumulatively damaging to the marriage. As quiet is in his DNA, which is how my husband processes life, I know it is his way of knowing how to show love — in a quiet way. As I am the more gregarious one in the relationship, my husband’s quiet personality is his yin to my yang.
When we don’t accept the other person for being different, we become frustrated and make the cardinal mistake that we can change the other person. We all eventually realize that we can never change others, but only ourselves. Lord knows, I have tried it with my husband, but to this day, it has never worked and will never work. The better possibility of witnessing change in the other person is through acceptance and by setting a good example as the leader. When we take the lead through our own actions, others follow suit. So if you want your husband to lose weight, then take the initiative to lose weight yourself and you will see how quickly he jumps on the losing weight bandwagon. Leading by example is the best way to effect change in others.
Also, by understanding and accepting the inner nature of others, our response to their behavior becomes constructive, so we bring in a positive energy to the relationship. While I am sure my husband will from time to time still rub me in the wrong way (how could he not as he is a man and visa versa!), by acknowledging and embracing his difference, I have come one step closer in appreciating and valuing his unique personality, which has only brought us closer together with more trust and love.
From the beginning of Adam & Eve, men and women have and will always be different, and that is just fine, so we should celebrate it like the French who say, “Vive La Difference.” As men are from mars and women from venus, the Universe has brought the human species into balance and harmony — the yin and yang.
By Moon Cho, Creator of Ying & Yang Living