I am fortunate to be married to someone who shares many of my values and passions. For the things we disagree with, though, I have to find a way to not control her and to let her be her own person. This is the ultimate expression of tolerance: she is welcome in my personal space, influences my future, and is free to “ruin” it with her own dreams and values.
The key to making it work is acknowledging her intrinsic freedom and working hard to connect so values and goals can be shared as much as possible. It won’t always work, but if it does, then it is the start of a lifestyle of this, which opens up so many wonderful relationships in all areas of life.
We like to think of tolerance as something that happens with people who are drastically different than us. With people from other political parties, religions, or backgrounds. I’ve found over the years that tolerance really begins with those who are closest to me: do I try to control them or do I let them freely be themselves? That’s ultimately the question that is asked of all of our relationships. The less we control, the better the relationships are.