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Grant me the serenity to accept what I can’t change in a relationship, the courage to try to change what I can in a relationship, the prioritizing impatience to leave a relationship that I can neither change nor accept, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Lots of couples and couple’s counselors say that a relationship matures when both parties give up on trying to change each other, and with practice, get to where they regain a sobered acceptance of each other as is, that sustains them past the honeymoon period.
Partners just figure out how to tuck in their elbows and make it work. So maybe the order is honeymoon serenity, courage and then back to sustainable post-honeymoon serenity.
In any frustrating situation we can take it serenely, try to change it courageously or leave it.
Sometimes sustainable serenity just ain’t happening and instead couples enter a period of unpredictable and amplifying oscillation, efforts to achive the serenity to accept, whipsawing with courage to try to change each other.
Understanding the three-way serenity prayer and how it plays out in all relationship can make us less spiteful in the end, more wise even about when to give up on seeking more wisdom. We become more agnostic and less regretful and/or angry about what went wrong, about whether we tried unconscionably hard to change them or not hard enough, about whether they were stubborn narcissists or just on a different path.
That and an appreciation for the fundamental challenges we face in seeking and creating compatibility goes a long way toward gear switching into forgiveness.
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