Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Grapefruit Syndrome

Image taken from HERE
I found this story in my reader, found on THIS blog... one of my favorites, once you click over you will know why if you know me at all... but anyway, I thought this was a great story and had a good point in what we "see" in our relationships.

The GrapeFruit Syndrome:

As a young wife, I learned that marriage could be sweeter if I didn’t focus on my husband’s faults.

My husband and I had been married about two years when I read an article recommending that married couples discuss truthfully and candidly the habits or mannerisms they find annoying in each other. The theory was that if partners knew of such annoyances, they could correct them before resentful feelings developed.

It made sense to me. I talked with my husband about the idea. After some hesitation, he agreed to give it a try.

As I recall, we were to name five things we found annoying. I started off. After more than 50 years, I remember only my first complaint: grapefruit. I told him I didn’t like the way he ate grapefruit. Instead of cutting it open and eating it with a spoon, he peeled it and ate it a section at a time. Nobody else I knew ate grapefruit like that. Could I be expected to spend a lifetime, and even eternity, watching my husband eat grapefruit like that? Although I have forgotten them, I’m sure my other complaints were of similar importance.

Then it was his turn. It has been more than half a century, but I still carry a mental image of my husband’s thoughtful, puzzled expression. He looked at me and said, “I can’t think of anything I don’t like about you.”  Gasp. I quickly turned my back, not knowing how to explain my tears. I had found fault with him over such trivial things, while he hadn’t even noticed any of my peculiar and no doubt annoying habits.

I wish I could say this experience completely cured me of faultfinding. It didn’t. But it did teach me early in my marriage that we need to keep in perspective, and usually ignore, the small differences in our spouse’s habits and personalities. Whenever I hear of married couples being incompatible, I always wonder if they are suffering from what I now call the grapefruit syndrome.

~ Lola B. Walters, “The Grapefruit Syndrome,”Liahona, Sep 1999, 24

I love that story... I loved it when I read it the first time and I still love it again after reading it for the 5th time in two days.

If we choose so, we can put a lot of focus on the little things, or imperfections (as THIS blog wrote about) and let them bug us about our significant other.  We can let it wear on us until we feel we are about to burst with frustration and pent up anger and even sometimes hate.  Or we can choose not to let them bug us.  See past those small things that annoy or bug us.  Let the imperfections in those we choose to keep around us everyday and love and make a commitment to be accepted.  It's selfish actually to focus on that stuff because that's you saying you are perfect and they are not... I mean you ARE casting the first stone right?

It's selfish, and yet, so human.

So as much a I'm saying NOT to focus on those things... and choosing to not make it something that rules your relationship and how you feel about the other person; I'm also saying it's okay once in awhile if something DOES bug you, and you mention it for the hope that your significant other WILL listen and try to make it less annoying--but then focus on something you need to work on for them.  Give and take--that's the key--at least I THINK so? :)

Do YOU have Grapefruit Syndrome?  Or did you?  Any helpful hints?


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nitebyrd said...

If only his faults were as small as eating grapefruit a weird way, I might have stayed married.

Nah. I wouldn't have.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

Lol...no doubt. Some of them aren't small or insignificant...some things can't be gotten over.

CityMom2 said...

That is a lovely story. Especially when I imagine the young couple looking like Reese Witherspoon and that hot actor from "Dear John"...
relationships are about give and take, it's best when the giving and taking balance out.
Good Post!

UP said...

I can't have grapefruit...Lipitor!

And I miss it.

I silently cuss about the faults in my relationship/spouse...but I rarely air them...it's just easier to walk away and think...I love her because of this, not that.


Momma Sunshine said...

Every person, spouse or not, has annoying traits.

I think that one of the keys to any successful relationship is to simply recognize that some things just need to be disregarded - period.

After all, it's those little things about those we love that make them, in part, who they are.

Welcome to the Garden of Egan said...

That is a great story.

I can't decide if I have grapefruit syndrome or not. It may depend on the time of the month.

Emily said...

I've heard this story before and always love it. Kind of a "let he who is without an annoying habit cast the first grapefruit" sort of thing. I for one am not perfect so I try not to dwell on any seeming imperfections in my spouse. I do sometimes vent to a girlfriend, but that's as far as it goes! ;)