You see your diamonds with a naked eye

MasterTux | Pixbaby

Diamonds are born ugly.

Or at least they are ugly when ripped from the earth’s mantle. Raw diamonds usually have an oily sheen and resemble pale-colored, yellowish glass. Only after a diamond is cut do they look worthy of becoming anyone’s “best friend.”

Unfortunately, a diamond withstands billions of years of pressure and high temperatures only to be measured by its flaws. Only under the scrutiny of a high-powered microscope can you see those inclusions — tiny dot-shaped blemishes, twisting lines, and crystalized cavities as unique as snowflakes buried inside its shimmering planes.

But to the naked eye, a flawed diamond and a near-perfect one look the same.

In love, it’s best to see your partner with a naked eye. Happy couples understand this. They do not magnify flaws, and they do not expect lumps of coal to become diamonds under pressure.

Here are a few tips for using your “naked eye” in your relationship.

Know the difference between judgment and discernment.

There’s that old biblical saying — “Do not cast your pearls before swine.” This saying embodies the art of discernment. When you know your value, you will not devalue yourself by being with people who do not appreciate your strengths.

Judgment is different. When we judge our partner, we take a wishlist of qualities and try to mold someone to those expectations. And often, the qualities that are our “deal breakers” are the very demons we have not tamed in ourselves.

I see these wishlists on dating apps. For example, someone will write “not looking for any drama.” This is almost always the classic “reap what you sow” projection. Someone who avoids needless drama will never mention their need for calmness. It is a given. You only notice your breath when you can’t breathe.

Judgment is demanding and focuses on what someone is lacking. When we judge someone, we magnify their flaws.

Discernment is quiet acceptance and focuses on appreciating your partner’s strengths AND weaknesses. Discernment sees the beauty in the uncut stone.

Focus on the problems you can solve and let the ones you can’t go.

In every relationship, conflict is inevitable. But when those cracks in the stone occur, healthy couples mend ruptures differently than unhealthy couples.

In a 2019 study examining marital issues amongst couples, researchers found that the happiest couples took a far more solutions-orientated approach to conflict. It makes sense. Solutions are more future-focused, while complaints without solutions can get you mired in stalemates.

More interestingly, researchers found happy couples focused on solving more minor issues like the division of household labor than unsolvable problems like an annoying mother-in-law visiting.

Love guru John Gottman has found similar traits in his decades of observing happy couples. According to Gottman, only 69 percent of relationship issues ever get solved. It’s for this reason that Gottman advises couples to manageconflict instead of eliminating it.

Choose meaningful, not happy relationships.

Eli J. Finkle’s book The All or Nothing Marriageoutlines the difference between happy relationships and meaningful relationships.

Happiness or “hedonic well-being” is classified as a relationship with a high ratio of pleasure to pain. Many casual sexual relationships fall into this category.

Meaningful relationships or “eudaimonic well-being” are relationships that foster personal growth. One of the most vital components of a meaningful relationship is where both parties support each other’s hopes and dreams.

For example, I had a friend who wanted to go back to school to get a degree in creative writing. Her husband would not support her ambitions despite having ample economic means. They were divorced three years later.

No one wants to coast through life and always remain the “diamond in the rough.” Healthy couples see their partner’s potential and encourage them to strive toward greatness.

Finkle points out that healthy relationships need both happiness and meaning. A relationship that is all pain and no pleasure can chip away at your well-being. But all couples must go through periods of more pain than pleasure. (If you have a newborn, you know exactly what I mean.)

But while happiness is a moving target, meaning becomes the bedrock for a secure relationship. And that sense of security helps couples weather the storms in their marriage. In contrast, when a relationship is defined solely by pleasure, it becomes too easy to bow out when pain outweighs pleasure.

Show appreciation for each other in small and big ways.

Research shows that appreciation for your partner strengthens both your commitment to a relationship and your partner’s commitment to the relationship.

Appreciation is like putting funds into an emotional debit card for a rainy day. When that rainy day comes, your partner will be better able to see your relationship in a positive light if you have cultivated appreciation. Think of gratitude as polishing your diamonds.

See your partner, not a project.

It’s a myth that diamonds are formed from pressurized coal. In actuality, diamonds are much older than the coal formed from the earth’s first land plants.

Perhaps this myth endures because we want to believe that this sooty, black rock can become clear, beautiful, and priceless with enough pressure. It’s the fairytale rags to riches or the “fixer-upper” storyline.

Mature people do not try to fix their partner by applying pressure. Instead, like a master diamond cutter, they know how to cut the right angles to reveal their partner’s multitudes. They not only see their partner’s potential but have chosen them because of their infinite possibilities.

On Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s wedding day, her mother famously gave her the quintessential diamond advice. She said, “In every good marriage, it helps to be a little deaf.”

Put another way; it also helps to be a little blind. Not blind to each other’s hopes and fears. But blind to our partner’s minor misdeeds that corrode our appreciation for their beauty. The master diamond cutter knows that one wrong cut can destroy the stone.

Joseph A. Cornacchia