The day we were engaged to marry we went to visit my wife’s grandmother, who was 83 at the time. With a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eye, she said: "I wish for you that the excitement and love you feel for each other today will be carried with you for the rest of your lives." At the time we did not quite appreciate the wisdom contained in her words. As the years went by and we walked through the path of life together, it began making more and more sense.

Human nature is such, that when we are on the lookout for a relationship — whether it be a working one, a social one, or for the purpose of a marriage — we focus on the strong points that the potential partner possesses. An emotional chemistry is created and an attraction develops. Everything s/he says and does is fantastic. If he interrupts me it’s because he loves us so much and he wants to tell me so much about himself. If she's messy, it’s because she puts all her energy into our relationship. If he's late, it’s because he stopped on the way home to buy me a gift.

As time goes on, our partner's weaknesses (which were always there) begin bothering us. Interruptions are rude. The mess isn’t tolerated and we can’t put up with the lateness. We find him/her less attractive than when we first met and we wonder why the spark and excitement is gone.

The average person learns about love and relationships through movies and songs. The image of the perfect relationship and the faultless person is an unfulfilled dream that some of us expect in reality, without wanting to work for it.

One of the reasons for the ancient Jewish custom that a bride's face is covered during the marriage ceremony is to symbolize the complete commitment of one to the other — the acceptance also of those parts of our spouse's character that are covered now, only to be revealed later.

There is only one secret for a long-term, successful, happy relationship and that is the power of acceptance. Acceptance does not mean that we agree with the other person's behavior or shortcomings; it means simply accepting them the way they are, without working a whole lifetime trying to change them, just like we accept ourselves the way we are with our shortcomings. Once we accept the other person for what s/he is rather than what we would want them to be, the energy used until now to criticize can be used for building and nurturing the relationship.

This is no less true of the parent-child relationship. Some parents fail to accept their children the way they are. In their communication with their children, they convey an open or hidden message: "Why are you not like … (i.e., what I believe a good child is supposed to be like)." This creates a distance between parent and child. When we truly accept our children the way they are and the way they are not, we will experience a new level of relationship with our children which we never experienced before.

Try it — it works!