When I met my partner, I could tell early on that he was funny and playful and adventurous. He had the fundamentals that were important to me – he was incredibly smart, handsome, had a good job and was family oriented. Right away, we had compatibility and valued the same things.

The early days of our relationship were filled with fun and exploration as we got to know each other. There is nothing we didn’t like about each other.

Then, over time, the differences started to show up. Of course, there would be differences – we met later in life, we’re both established personally and professionally, and we had grown families. We each had our own way of thinking and living our lives.  Some of it was similar and some of it was completely opposite.

Who am I to declare if his approach is flawed? Who is he to declare the same of me? He could see where I was struggling and I could see where he wasn’t getting the results he wanted in certain aspects of our lives. We could have become upset and judged each other. We could have criticized each other. We could have written each other off because of our ‘perceived’ flaws.

My first big ‘aha’ moment came from the realization that he and his family have their own dynamics that have been built over a lifetime and it is not for me to interfere. My own family is different and we, too, have our history.

We have standards for how we choose to treat each other – if either of us does not live up to that standard over time, then that is a flaw.  If we make a commitment to one another and break it, that is a flaw.  Otherwise – we simply have a difference in perspective.

I’ve learned over time not to judge another person. The very small behaviours that would irritate me are now the foundation of why I love him so much. I may not agree with everything he does or says. I look at him and I smile, full of love and gratitude, for having him in my life.

I’ve learned to pick my battles. I have one of the most loving, caring and generous partners you could find. He lights up my world. He accepts me for my flaws. We talk about them and he will never judge me.

The gift in all of this is true acceptance of each other for who we are. It works because we are in alignment with our values and standards. That creates chemistry and a solid foundation.

I don’t even pay attention to the little flaws anymore. Actually, I don’t even see them as flaws. I see them as character traits. It is those traits that make up this man, his own uniqueness –  the total package that he represents.

Every person I have ever discussed this topic with is fully aware of their own flaws. If they are detrimental to us or our loved ones, then we need to take ownership of them and fix them – permanently.

If they are minor flaws that make us imperfect – we can become self-conscious. We are fortunate if our partner sees those flaws as endearing qualities. They love us no matter what.

Removing blame, harsh criticisms and judgment make a huge difference. Characteristics I have seen in strong relationships include being trustworthy, mutual respect, genuine compassion and a deep love for each other. Flaws? What flaws?!

What songs ignite sparks for you this Valentine’s Day? Here are my Spotify romance recommendations! http://spoti.fi/2DUSz5Z