Building Healthy Relationships: Pre-empting Marital Strife III

In the aforementioned article, there was a discussion of “acceptance therapy”, which focuses on recognizing and accepting the partners’ flaws.  When partners received this type of couple therapy, after two years, this therapy was superior to others in a study by Christenson and Jacobson; after five years, half the marriages were significantly improved. 

This type of treatment reminds me of the philosophy of the late Albert Ellis – “Acceptance is not love. You love a person because he or she has lovable traits, but you accept everybody just because they’re alive and human”

In couples therapy.  I suggest that the partners accept each other as is, but they may in a gentle, non-punitive way point out how change may positively affect the marriage.  Of course, people work at different speeds in changing and so there is no agreement on a comparable time frame for the partners.  The person that changes, enhances his/her relationship.  Thus, accepting “as is”  is a crucial aspect of building healthy relationships.

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