A friend of mine forwarded me a joke for Valentine’s Day.

An old couple who had been married for over 60 years and are still in a loving relationship with each other. They had never fought. They had what others would consider a perfect relationship.

When they first got married, the woman kept a secret shoe box on the top shelf of her closet.

In the beginning, the husband was curious and asked her what’s in there, but she never told him and did not allow him to open it. Over time the husband forgot about it and life went along.

Then over 60 years later, when the woman was seriously sick and lying on the hospital bed, the husband thought it’s the right time to discover the secret of what’s in the box.

He brought it to the hospital. His wife instructed him to open the box. Inside were two teddy bears and $95,000 cash.

The husband asked, “Honey, what’s the Teddy bears for?”

The woman said, “When we got married my grandmother told me the secret to a happy marriage. She said every time you made me upset or angry, don’t say anything, just be quiet and knit a teddy bear.”

On hearing that the man was very happy and content. Two teddy bears meant he only made his wife upset and angry twice in over 60 years. He was pretty proud of himself.

He smiled, held her hands lovingly and asked, “What about the money?”

She said, “That’s the earnings I made from selling teddy bears…”

[Insert Laugh Here]

Got it?

This little story reveals the secrets to a better relationship: compromise and tolerance.

A common statement for relationship issues is: we are different, we have inconsolable differences, or a variation of it. Or more commonly, we grew apart.

Of course, we are all different, and that includes couples in intimate relationships. There’s nothing wrong with being different, however, the reason for relationship difficulties is the inability to bridge the gap or even embrace the difference. In times of friction, someone would have to change, tolerate and even compromise.

You may say, well it’s not going to be me.

To that I want to say first and foremost, to change, tolerate and even compromise does not mean you lose. On the contrary, this may be true: you win when you “lose“.

Picture this:

You and someone are driving in a narrow one lane road heading towards each other. Eventually you two come face to face and no one can move forward. It’s not the person who finally forces their way ahead that wins, it’s the one who yields.

Perhaps our mainstream culture does not perceive it that way because of human ego. We are living in a world of competitiveness, of my way or no way. This manifests in relationships of not changing your view points to understand what the other might be thinking, feeling, and experiencing.

When you can let go and yield, you win. You will have a much better experience than feeling stuck, and so will your partner. Because of your change, it initiates change of situation and hopefully molds your partner as well. You create a win-win situation.

Oftentimes in relationships you win when you “lose“, you win when you compromise and tolerate.

It reminds me of the movie What Dreams May Come starring Robin Williams. Robin Williams played the husband who died from a car accident and went to Heaven, where he meets his two children who died years earlier.

Please note that to help convey my message I will need to talk about and thus spoil the plot of the movie. I recommend you watch the movie and then come back here, but if you don’t wish to make such a commitment now please read on or skip to where I mark the spoilers ending if you wish to watch it at a later time.


Devastated, his beloved wife could not cope emotionally and committed suicide. Since she was in such emotional trauma and denials she ended up in Hell, trapped in a horrible mental landscape she created for herself.

The husband wanted to rescue her and bring her to Heaven but was warned that it’s virtually impossible because at her mental and emotional state the wife won’t even recognize him nor would she be open to the idea that there’s a better world. Worse still she may pull him into her horrible reality.

The husband was determined to save his wife though. He went to Hell to meet his wife and tried his best to remind her who he was and the good times they had, that there’s beautiful Heaven up there waiting for them.

By the time he had to leave, his wife was still so close-minded to accept what he was saying.

Obviously, he FAILED.

He had to go or else he won’t be able to return to Heaven. At this critical time, he made the shocking decision to stay in Hell and join his wife and her reality.

Then suddenly, magic happened. They were both teleported to Heaven!

The husband was confused, how could it happen. And the wife said, sometimes when you “lose” you win.


Sometimes when you lose you win. It’s especially true in relationships.

It’s not what you think. It may seem that you give, you compromise, you tolerate, but that does NOT equal losing. You are looking at a bigger picture and stay connected to your relationship.

It Takes Tremendous Letting Go to Build a Better Relationship.

Of course life can get rather complicated.

Your tolerance and compromise have limitations. It has to be considered on an individual basis. If what it takes is your person-hood then you need to walk away from the toxic relationship. For example, if you have an abusive spouse/partner.

It might get tricky as to where to draw the line.

Your relationship is also intricately linked with karma. Even when you were victimized in a toxic relationship or the relationship could not continue due to seemingly irrational personal choices, there could be karmic reasons behind it.

I walked away from a totally happy relationship, which resulted in tremendous pain, but I never regret my decision, as I described in my memoir The Healing Journey.

As souls we are seeking and expressing our purpose, our relationship needs to be in alignment with our soul essence. Seek relationship guidance from your own soul, it has all the answers you are seeking.

Building a better relationship is a test for the soul.

Can you expand your understanding of another being that’s closely related to you yet very different?
Can you let go, forgive and embrace someone who’s an important fabric of your reality?
Can you tolerate, yield, even compromise to make your relationship work?
Can you walk away with total confidence if necessary?
Can you reach your deep-seated soul and seek guidance for your relationships?

Relationship choices are personal. To build a better relationship both of you need to tolerate and compromise, but it starts with you, dear reader.

Why would it have to be me, you might ask?

Because you are the one reading this article to expand your understanding, because you are the one who wants to be the change maker, because you win when you lose and I want you to win.

Regardless of the relationship pan out or not, the bottom line is this:
Always learn useful lessons from your relationships.
Always grow STRONGER as a being.

Sue Maisano is a healer and author of The Healing Journey. If you love the message in the article, please share it with someone you care. Together we’ll raise human consciousness and make the world a better place.

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