My Husband Showed Me Radical Acceptance And Changed My Life Forever

Photo: Courtesy of the author
My Husband Showed Me Radical Acceptance And Changed My Life Forever

When I first married my husband, we lived in separate states, and for more than a year and a half, after we got married, we had a long-distance relationship

Living separately while married requires amazing communication skills. But, we were strong in that department, so for us, as difficult as being apart could be, we nailed it.

In a short period of time, we had already battled some of life's storms together — buying a house, graduate school, health crisis, and even, adopting a few pets — still, each challenge brought us closer. 

Perhaps it's because our relationship started off in the midst of storms, a blizzard to be exact, and so by all my expectations, I felt I had met someone who would love me through good times and bad times. And yet, you really don't know someone until, of course, you get married. There was lots to learn, and with each new experience, I learned a lot. 

He did, too. Even though I warned him that I'm not someone that's easy to love. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and an adult survivor of rape, I came with some crazy emotional baggage. There are days when I have felt less than loveable, and sometimes insecure with myself, and yet, he loves me just the same, and sometimes more.  

We literally can talk about everything and anything. He's got a roaring sense of humor, and I've got a thick skin. Our relationship is built on a strong foundation of open communication and wide acceptance.

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It was for those reasons (and several others) why I was intrigued when I was invited to take the Radical Acceptance 60-Day Challenge.

The challenge came down from Andrea Miller, the founder of YourTango. She's written a new book called Radical Acceptance: The Secret to Happy, Lasting Love, and, after some of us on staff had read it, she asked if anyone would consider spending the next 60 days trying to implement the book's philosophy of extending empathy and compassion to our loved ones in their every-day lives.

So I volunteered.

I simply assumed this challenge could enhance our romance, and who doesn't want more romance in marriage?

Never did I imagine that it would do more than that. I was wrong, so very wrong. The test of time proved that life has a strange way of revealing how much deeper trust in marriage can go when you least expect it.

About a month after reading the book, and incorporating radical acceptance in my life in areas that I felt it was needed, I already saw the benefits.

It was around that time when I literally hit a wall in my energy level. I was pulling long, late night hours working on some projects, and to be honest, neglecting private time with my husband. With time limitations, we spent more time as a family with the kids, and cut back our date nights.

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Because he is my number one cheerleader and supportive in all that I do, he gave me the room I needed to focus, and we both looked forward to the day that I had finished all I had on my plate. 

That first Saturday when all my projects were finally done, we were ready to celebrate! We decided to kick back and enjoy our first official weekend together without distractions or interruptions.

Then, I got a reminder that I had put yet another item on the calendar — an engagement party — and I couldn't cancel. I had to go. So, off we went with the family. 

When the following Tuesday arrived, and my girlfriend called me to say that my husband kissed her, I was devastated. Could things be wrong with us? My first inclination was to take her side because it takes big boots to tell a friend when something like that happens, and I knew her longer than I had known him.

I assured her that I would confront him, but at the same time, I was confused. Of course, I expected him to deny everything. 

I remembered the Radical Acceptance Challenge, and Andrea Miller's key phrase, "Just love him," and called to mind the stories she shared of how many long-term relationships that hit brick walls over the years were able to overcome all sorts of emotional battles. 

And the one lesson I took away from reading her book, Radical Acceptance, is that there really are few dealbreakers to relationships when you learn to just love each other.

Deep down, I believed in the goodness of my husband, but at the same time, this was a crisis stemming from a confession from my long-time friend, who I also trusted.

Truly, there is no greater battle more difficult than figuring out who you trust more — when it's between people you love. 

Still, she did have the courage to tell me her side of the story, and so now it was up to him to tell him his side.

I decided to embrace what I learned in RA and hold tight. I didn’t let my fears get the best of me. And, with an open mind, and swallowing my anger, and fear, I confronted him.

He didn't blink an eye. He admitted that a kiss had in fact happened. But to him, it was a harmless hello gesture that he thought nothing about.

Now, realizing I was possibly dealing with his perception, her perception, and mine, the two of us hacked it out for weeks — needless to say, I was enraged. How could he be so insensitive, I wondered? How could I not have seen it, I doubted myself. 

With eyes wide open to the fact that no matter how strong the communication in a relationship could be, we as a couple could go even deeper. 

But the key was forgiveness, not just me to him, but he to me, because in the end, I realized, once again, I was wrong.

A week later, after me thinking I was the only one radically accepting my spouse, I came to realize that no, in fact, he had been the one radically accepting me.

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I came to this realization after another male I knew and trusted, when we shared how much radical acceptance pulled us through a confusing and difficult time, he shared with me that the same female had kissed him in a similar way that had happened with my husband!

Suddenly I realized that my husband had not only been telling me the truth but had radically accepted me in my anger and it literally revolutionized our marriage — without ever holding me at fault. 

His radical acceptance of me during this time not only improved our marriage but has changed me forever. 

I've learned that radical acceptance does work and is the key we all need to create happier marriages built on unconditional love

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