The sparkling lights of Broadway are a big part of the Big Apple’s luster. (And a live show often makes for a great date!) A few years back, I remember reading review after review of the musical, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” and laughed every time I saw the hilarious title. The show featured various vignettes that explored the humorous side of love and relationships, though, if the title is any indication, much of the humor is based in reality, which is what made the show so funny!
In real life, most happy and healthy relationships arrive at a point where one or both partners feels unsatisfied, perhaps enough to utter something similar to the title of the aforementioned musical comedy. Yet, as funny as that title is, I’d be misleading you if I implied that I agree with it. It is natural to feel unsatisfied by your partner from time to time. Every healthy relationship will face obstacles that relate to one or both partners’ issues and concerns. However, think twice (or better yet, a dozen times) before you attempt to fix your problems by changing your partner; this dating mistake is a virus that will quickly wear down any healthy relationship.
The truth is, no relationship is perfect. But that’s okay because nobody’s perfect, either. Navigating your lover’s imperfections and learning how to accept them while setting and maintaining personal limits is a vital part of every healthy relationship. You may be surprised to learn that a flaw or two (or even ten!) does not automatically spell disaster for your love story.
Once in a while, I’ll get a call from someone who is frazzled over hitting a relationship road bump, nervous that it’s a fatal sign. Some of the typical issues include bickering, money quarrels, and sexual incompatibility. I often console the caller with the truth: “Relax! This is totally normal. It’s not a death sentence!” Couples can address classic trouble spots like bickering and money conflicts by focusing attention on open, honest communication. This approach also applies in the bedroom; sexual dynamics are often improved with increased trust and mutual confidence between partners. Partners who work together to strengthen their relationships with trust and communication will many times notice healthy, natural changes that come as products of cooperation instead of co-opting one another.
At the same time, part of a healthy relationship with yourself is knowing when to recognize when a classic trouble spot becomes too big for you and your partner to bear. Physical violence and verbal abuse are two non-negotiable relationship enders that you should not tolerate or expect to change, even through communication. And if you start to notice that the negative aspects of your coupledom outweigh the positive ones, that’s another sign that you might be wise to move on. There are plenty of factors that can cause a healthy relationship to become unhealthy. (But that’s another blog for another day!)
I never thought the title of a musical like “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change!” would ever inspire a blog entry. Yet, maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised. Theater allows us to filter the humor out of every day life in order to better understand it. That funny title alone has given me many insights into the way people approach relationships: the main insight being that although we often have the urge to fix our partner and purge them of their flaws, many times they are ultimately perfectly imperfect. Recognizing and accepting trouble spots paired with healthy, open communication is the best way to nurture a relationship as it develops. And, I’ll give you a few more words of wisdom before signing off; another lesson you can learn from theater is the value of humor and making take time to laugh at life, love, and relationships. (Perhaps a night on Broadway can help!)
p.s. Have we spoken 1-on-1 yet? Click here to send in your application!