Level 7 Tolerance
Disagreements are mild and rare and never dampen the strong bond of positive feeling between them. Partners may not always fully agree or appreciate each other, but they have learned to accept and become tolerant of their differences.
Couples at this level share a strong bond of positive feelings. They are always seen to be loving and considerate to one another. Their mutual acceptance, trust, respect and admiration make their relationship stable and beautiful. Accepting and appreciating another is possible only when we eliminate our own egoistic sense of self-importance and superiority or the notion that our opinions and attitudes are somehow more valid than those of our partner. Acceptance and tolerance are the preconditions for true affection and love. Romance arises not when we find the perfect mate but when we do not even see or notice any defects in the other person, because we relate to the person at a deeper level where these things do not matter.
A strong positive relationship is a wonderful blessing, but it can always be made stronger and more intense by conscious effort. Learn not to expect anything from your partner. Rather learn to appreciate freshly their every small positive thoughtful initiative. The more conscious attention we give to the positive aspects of our relationship, the more they will increase. Learn to look at every situation from your partner's point of view and appreciate the truth in that viewpoint. Disagreements will disappear. Only differences will remain.
The Gardiners are a happy and harmonious couple. Even when they disagree, their differences never become personal. Their interactions never become negative. They trust each other. They do not need the other's permission to take a decision. They know they already have it. When their vacation plans are altered because of Mr. Gardiner's work, Mrs. Gardiner is disappointed but doesn't fret or complain, she accepts it cheerfully. When Mr. Gardiner decides to set aside a huge amount of money to help his sister's family, he has his wife's ungrudging support even though they both know it affects the future of their own children. They have similar values, and are always able to see the bigger picture. This perspective enables them to ignore minor differences, while nurturing and strengthening their relationship.
Mae & Jim Braddock (Cinderella Man)
We might not expect to find a high level of harmony in the relationship between a professional boxer and his wife. But the marriage of Mae and James Braddock is an inspiring example of complete acceptance and a great tolerance between the partners under conditions of hardship sufficient to provoke most married couples to constant recrimination and acrimony. Jim is an over-the-hill boxer who has to struggle to find work during the Great Depression and what little he can earn is insufficient to provide food and heating for his wife and three young children during the cold winter months in New York. Jim gets a last chance opportunity to re-enter the ring five years later, Mae trembles with fear for her husband's safety and cannot even bear to attend the matches. They desperately need the money, but still she would rather send the kids to stay with relatives than risk his life. Yet knowing how deeply he yearns for self-respect and success, she supports him through a remarkable comeback to become heavyweight champion of the world. The depth of harmony and love between them is the foundation for Jim's incredible achievement.
To raise your relationship to a higher level of harmony, see Strategies to Increase Harmony in Your Relationship
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