"I love you, but I don't like your ways": 4 ways to work through it.
I remember my parents saying this statement to me as I was in the thick of my teenage years… “I love you, but I don’t like your ways.” It always made me feel remorseful in my actions and it motivated me to try to change my “unpleasant” ways to meet my parents’ expectations...that was on the good days. On the bad days, I would be resentful for them having the audacity to question my “ways” which might be otherwise known as my developing personality as I embarked upon young adulthood. I would oftentimes reflect and think to myself, “what you don’t like about my ways are exactly the personality traits that I got from YOU!”
Fast forward some 20 years and here we are. My husband and I are having a conversation of Love vs Like. He simply stated, “Kisha, it is easy to love someone...it is the liking that is a challenge.” Now, my husband and I are experts in this area. You see, early on in our marriage, I will admit that there were truly days that I flat out didn’t like him (don’t worry about him reading this...we hashed it all out in therapy so he already knows this fact. LOL!) Whether it was while I was at home on maternity leave and I resented him because he got to leave every day and I was in the house being a whole cow (postpartum is a real thing).
Or whether it was the fact that he always gave push back when we were discussing things and I just couldn’t handle it because in my family most conversations were one-sided, so how dare you question me! During this period in our lives, I was very confused as to how I could love someone so much in my heart, yet despise him on certain days. And, unfortunately, there are couples who never understand or get past these feelings and stay in a rut of loving but not liking. I have seen this happen with young and old couples, couples married for 3 years to 30 years...this learning curve could last forever if no one is ever talking about it.
In our hearts, we can love and care for someone--even if it is at a distance. The real work comes when the person has done something that you don’t like and you have to push through it.
Consider these steps when trying to like your spouse and truly love UNCONDITIONALLY.
CONSIDER WHAT YOU DON’T LIKE ABOUT YOUR SPOUSE; IS IT A YOU THING OR A THEM THING? When reflecting on the things that I didn’t like about my husband, it was really issues that I was having and it truly had nothing to do with him. I had work to do.
WORK ON YOU. We cannot change the people we are married to, but we can work on ourselves as individuals. Somehow, when we do this, our relationships change for the best.
TRULY DECIDE TO FORGIVE YOUR SPOUSE. Newsflash! You can absolutely forgive your spouse for offenses BEFORE they say I am sorry! Definitely easier said than done, but it CAN be done!!!
AVOID BLAME AND COMPLAIN. When you finally decide to discuss what you don’t “like” about your spouse, try not to blame your spouse for how you are feeling or complain about the things they are doing. Stay in the lane of “I felt__________when _____________.” If you are on the receiving end of this information, please be open to hear and understand what your spouse is saying. Refrain from responding with things such as…”that’s not my problem, you need to deal with that, etc.” Stay empathetic even if you are the spouse who may be the more logical and less emotional one.