I have done a lot of thinking on how we have made it this far. That is really striking to say because it makes it sound as if we were a train wreck. But the truth was, we really were. We were both pretty messed up on our own; and then we had to go on and put our crazy trains on the same track. It really is a miracle that we have greatly improved our relationship despite the odds.
In my psychology studies, there is a concept of personal grit that allows people to succeed and overcome the challenges inherent to life. Angela Lee Duckworth gave a TED presentation on "grit" that you can see by clicking here. Margaret M. Perlis writes about it on Forbes.com here. When I Google searched "relational grit" there were no results close to relationship or grit as a psychological term. The closest result was an article called "Does Your Marriage Have Enough Grit?" So, perhaps that is a good reason for me to continue this post.
So the way I would describe relational grit is to have a high tolerance for relational friction and appreciation for differences (that lead to the conflicts). If relational grit is the reason for our success so far, I hope you noticed that I didn't say that we are suddenly perfect individuals and therefore perfect for relationship. I am not more perfect but I have changed in ways that have made the relationship mutually beneficial and gratifying.
Mr. Grit and I have come to develop more healthy filters for our relationship as a remarried couple in a blended family with an "ours" baby. We expect the discrepancies as attributed to our differing perspectives. We know we are limited by our unique experiences of the same situation and have decided to extend charitable assumptions to those tense moments. We have increased our tolerance for disagreement as well as our willingness to take turns or come up with win-win solutions.
Succeeding in our marriage has not been about "success" as much as it has been an exercise of doing things that are foreign to us, selfish-by-nature folks. To act in the blind for the best results is like putting your faith in anything but your old dysfunctional ways. Ah, that subject of faith again. I recently heard it illustrated by pregnancy via the baby's perspective. Read about it here.
So to put it literally, to succeed in my relationship, I had to do something outside of my human nature, something "un-natural" to garner the results of a robust marriage. It's like taking the advice of your relationship expert alter-ego and having it work every single time. It's freaky... in a kicking-divorce-in-the-derriere kind of way. I'm all for it. Are you game?