5 things you'll need to accept about your husband for a happy marriage

Don’t try changing your man ― accept him for whom he is and he’ll love you all the more!

Just like many other newlyweds, Shirley Lim, 34, and her husband Terence Ng, 36, were looking forward to moving into their marital home together.

As the couple had spent more than a year ― and a large sum of their savings ― to build their love nest and were looking forward to making some incredible memories in there.

The first few months were blissful. They enjoyed coming home to each other after long days at the office and relaxing in their cosy space. Weekends were also spent finding new ways to decorate their home. However, the household chores soon started piling up. Lim also realised that her man wasn’t keeping up his end of the bargain with daily tasks.

“Terence was in charge of washing the toilets and making sure the apartment was always tidy, but I had to constantly nag him into doing it,” Lim says. “It became frustrating and caused some friction in our marriage.”

On Ng’s part, he reckons he was doing the chores ― at a pace he was comfortable with. “Shirley wanted the bathrooms to be washed twice a week, which I thought was unnecessary because it was just the two of us. Also, the place is tidy, in my opinion!” he adds.

 “Radical Acceptance…it’s loving without judgement. It is replacing judgement with compassion and empathy. It is loving your partner fully for who he really is – flaws, shortcomings, insecurities and all.”

After a year of arguing constantly about the same thing, Lim realised that her beef with housework wasn’t worth the stress it was putting on her marriage. Also, she found it incredibly exhausting trying to force her husband to change his ways.

“I accepted that Terence would do his tasks but at his own pace, and I didn’t want to stress myself out in the process, so a part-time cleaner was the best solution,” says Lim. The positive and immediate effect it had on their marriage was unmistakable. Ng stopped resenting his wife for trying to change him ― also, knowing that she was willing to be flexible made him love her even more.

Acceptance the key to a happy marriage?

While not all marital problems can be easily solved like the Ngs, an important lesson can still be learnt from their experience. Marriage is not hard work, it takes a lot of trial and error. Keeping a union harmonious is not just about give and take, but also about acceptance.

Sounds easy enough, but here comes the tricky bit. You don’t only accept each other’s good and lovable parts, you also have to embrace the bad, ugly (and annoying) bits. Author Andrea Miller, who founded the love and relationship portal YourTango, explains this in her book Radical Acceptance: The Secret to Happy, Lasting Love.  “What is Radical Acceptance? It’s loving without judgement. It is replacing judgement with compassion and empathy.  It is loving your partner fully for who he really is ― flaws, shortcomings, insecurities and all.”

Imagine the feelings of security and trust you’ll experience with someone who accepts you just the way you are. You’ll also give your spouse the same positive feelings when you accept them for whom they are. Plus, you will feel so much more free as soon as you stop trying to control or change a person.

Explains John Gray, author of the bestselling relationship guide, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, “Quite often, when one partner makes a positive change, the other will also change. This predictable coincidence is one of those magical things about life.” 

That said, you mustn’t overlook certain relationship deal breakers, such as infidelity or abusework through these with professional help. As long you know your husband is a good and trustworthy man and father, you can start to embrace these areas that are very much a part of whom he is.

1. His family

By now, you’d have figured out that when you marry someone, you end up marrying his or her entire family. Trying to fit into a new family is not always easy. In Selvarani Murugan’s case, it was a challenge from the get-go. She has never been able to see eye-to-eye with her in-laws and things got even more complicated once the kids arrived.

“My husband and I would constantly fight about his family and even he agreed that they were a handful at times,” Selvarani says. “It became so bad that I ended up cutting my in-laws out from my life.” However, Selvarani’s husband was hurt that she would no longer join family outings with his parents and the kids were confused with the sudden change in family dynamics.

“I’ve actually never seen my husband that hurt before. We didn’t speak for months,” Selvarani recalls. Noticing the severe impact her one-sided decision had made on her family, she made peace with her in-laws.

“My husband is a good man, and he was not the one giving me problems, so it was wrong of me to take it out on him and the kids. Also, they are his family and I need to respect that. I’ve learnt to tolerate my in-laws!” she quips.