Are you looking for your perfect puzzle piece too? Mod 4 is all about two things: getting to know your partner and getting to know yourself. The beauty of relationships, in my opinion, is that there’s always more to know. No matter how well we know someone, there’s always more to discover about them – especially your partner.
How often do you sit down and start a conversation to discover each other by asking questions that go a little deeper? Even if you think you know your partner’s answer already, listen for nuances you never noticed before. You’ll be surprised how much you learn!
Opposites attract, but birds of a feather flock together. In the course of my relationships, I’ve found both are true, often at the same time. But it’s all too easy to focus on the bad differences – and similarities – that can tear you apart. So let’s talk about our traits, and how you can make a slurry of personality traits work.
In an ideal world, you’d both be a perfect mix of complementary positive traits. I think most if not all of us grow up with an idealized version of our future partner, whether that’s a spouse or a dating partner. I know I did.
I grew up thinking I’d find the perfect match one day, and we’d have different strengths that fit together like puzzle pieces, merging into one happy little life. But the thing is, no one person will ever fit with you perfectly.
What we really get with a partner is someone with strengths and weaknesses, virtues, and flaws that can clash with our own. And sometimes those flaws can be a lot bigger than we think. Sometimes we start a relationship thinking, “This is it, I’ve finally found my perfect match” and forget that it won’t always be smooth sailing.
I’m sure you know just as well as I that relationships are messy things. We grow up hearing about how they’ll complete us, how someone will come into our lives, and suddenly everything makes sense, and how our lives will never be complete until that happens.
I’m still coming to terms with all those lofty ideals. But the point is, even when we find someone who’s a wonderful match, we’ll never find someone who doesn’t have negative traits. More specifically, we’ll never find someone without negative traits that drive us absolutely batty.
As someone who clung to those ideas of a perfect partner for the first half-decade of her dating life, I can assure you, setting your expectations for the perfect partner will almost certainly end in disappointment. So if we can’t find a perfect partner, what do we do?
Well, we try to become them.
Here’s the thing. Yes, we will never find someone who is our perfect match in every way, someone whose strengths match and fit with ours harmoniously all the time. But what we can all find is a partner committed to being their best selves – on their own and with you.
That’s really the secret. A good partnership isn’t found; it’s something you make, both of you, together.
You get to know each other. You talk and talk some more. You spend time together. You learn about each other, things you want to know, and things you probably never would’ve chosen to know. You’ll learn beautiful things, and painful things, and boring things, and things so wild you’ll stare in awe for a moment. But the important part of that is the learning. Never stop learning about your partner.
That’s step one.
Step two? Use all you’ve learned to be the best you can be to each other.
This module doesn’t have you answer questions just because it’s fun or interesting (although it certainly is). The whole point of asking and answering questions about who you are, what you want, who you’ve been, who you want to be is to cultivate a mindset of constant learning toward each other. No matter if you’ve known someone for 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 years, or 5 decades, there’s always more to learn.
Be curious about each other. Value every new thing you learn, and value the new contours of things you knew before, but maybe not as well. When you put the learning first, you might just find that the negative traits that drove you up a wall don’t have to be threatening. They may be areas to work on, sure. But they’re all born out of this person’s unique experiences and how they processed them. You may not agree (and vehemently so), but I can promise you learning and growth.
So next time you come across a negative trait or traits, look at them as things to be curious about first. You can only work on them effectively if you strive to understand them. And sometimes you’ll need to work on them together, sometimes individually. But either way, you’ll both grow from them.
Use this module to discover and rediscover each other. Even if it’s a question you’re sure you know your partner’s answer for, talk about it. Learn something new from each question and each answer. Appreciating each other’s positive traits and working on your negatives starts with curiosity, not suspicion.
That’s a lot easier said than done, no doubt about it. Sometimes we don’t even know we’re prepping to take a swing at our partner – or anyone, for that matter.
So as you work through this module together, be sure to check-in. Take breathers. Be aware of your emotional state and be sensitive to your partner’s. You’ll have some amazing conversations in this module, but you’ll have some tough ones too.
But I can promise that every word you two share with each other will be worth it.