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Do You Assume Love or Do You Pretend It?

When you get really angry about the way your husband or wife treats you, what do you do? Do you yell or throw something, then kiss and make up later? This is not assuming love.

Do you keep your anger to yourself, giving your mate the benefit of the doubt, letting it pass, but not exactly letting it go, because you are loved? This is not assuming love, either. It is what I call pretending love. You tell yourself you are loved and this was a loving act, but you don't manage to fool yourself. The anger is still there. You keep it to yourself and let it ripen into resentment.

When you assume love, you do not pretend. You do not try to fool yourself. You simply ask yourself, "How would I explain what happened if I knew for absolute certain, with no reservations, that I am still very much loved and my partner in life is still a good person?" You don't need to believe the assumption. You use it only to temporarily silence the fear that you are not loved so that you can truly think about an explanation.

You do it because this fear is so basic that it literally narrows your thinking. It focuses your attention on the problems. It hides the explanations from you.

The what-if question helps you recall related information: other events, things your spouse has said or done in the past, something you learned from a role model years ago. It frees you to put them together into an explanation that you are free to reject or accept, and to try a different explanation if the first one does not work. It lets you see the situation from other perspectives.

When you are done using the love assumption, you may indeed have confirmed what happened was not done with love but with a cold heart. But in most cases, you will have successfully separated what you did not like about what happened from the fear that your relationship and future are in jeopardy. And now you can work to fix what upset you without lashing out at someone who loves you.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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