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Articles from January 2011

January 31, 2011

Bad Days Happen in Every Marriage

When I get upset with my husband, I sometimes come to Assume Love to remember what I'm supposed to do about it. Here are two of the quotes I find very helpful.

Twice now, I have been blessed to have love in my life. Love includes some side benefits that lighten the load of living, but when we specify which ones with our expectations, I've learned we drive away the love. [August 2006]

Your spouse may well be the single most important person in your life. If you can't get him or her to agree with you, it feels scary. If you're human, you withdraw from your spouse to reduce the fear or you argue louder to get the agreement you need to feel safe.

So, how do you skip all the usual pain?

Jump sides and, TOGETHER, look for the Third Alternative that gives both of you everything you like about what you're arguing for and nothing of what you're arguing against.

In other words, win every argument, and be a hero to your spouse at the same time. [January 2009]

I hope they help you through your bad days, too.

January 26, 2011

Go Meet Your Friends for a Beer!

Agi Smith is interviewing folks going through divorce for the Huffington Post. Yesterday's interview was with a NJ man who now must fly to another state every other weekend to maintain a relationship with his 10-year-old son.

He says he absolutely, absolutely needs love in his life but oddly misses nothing about his marriage except what his son has lost. What he claims to like best about being unmarried is that he can meet friends for a beer after work, watch what he wants on TV, and listen to his choice of music.

We all need love in our lives. If you are lucky enough to still be married, please go meet your friends for a beer! Not to escape the person you pledged to love until death but to remain the person he or she pledged to love until death or to become a better one.

A sure route to a ruined marriage is to do what your mate wants and resent it. Diane Sollee of says habitual avoidance of conflict is the number one cause of divorce.

Should you change the music in your home or grab the TV remote? No. Try a couple of iPods while the two of you cook together or work on a jigsaw puzzle or polish your shoes. Record the shows only one of you likes, or find them on Hulu, and watch while the other is off at the gym or the supermarket. Or find a new shared hobby that's so much fun you don't even miss the TV.

January 25, 2011

A Reminder to Keep Your Marriage Up-to-Date

It was a huge hit when I had been a widow for just three years, but I had not heard it in a long time. Tears streamed down my face as I listened to Garth Brooks singing his first #1 hit again today.

If tomorrow never comes, will she know how much I loved her?
And if my time on earth were through
And she must face the world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes

January 18, 2011

Stay Married for the Kids?

When a marriage grows distant or unsatisfying, one partner or the other may ask, "Should I stay for the kids?"

Sure. If you stay married for the sake of your children, they will avoid the overscheduled life of a child of divorce. They will find more money in their education account or better food on the table thanks to the economies of a shared household. And they will probably manage their aggressiveness and sexuality better during the teen years.

Much better, though, to fall back in love for the children. You spare them all of your resentment. You confirm their view of their other parent as loving and worthy of love. You show them how to succeed at marriage. You demonstrate how to receive love with open arms, how to grow in concert with another human being, how to let yourself be influenced without giving up yourself, how to love another without living in fear of abandonment. You give your future grandkids a pair of secure arms to hold them.

To fall back in love, let go of everything you think you know about what someone should do if they love you. Take nothing for granted. Look for every opportunity to feel grateful. Look for every opportunity to feel generous. Look for every opportunity to feel gracious.

Do the things you dream of doing if you divorced. Lose the weight. Quit smoking. Get more exercise. Take a course. Spend some of your hard-earned money on a cruise or a trip to Tuscany. Schedule a weekly visit to a spa. Sing. Serve chocolate chip pancakes with mashed bananas for dinner. Dance. Lift your spirit, because love flows in more easily when you feel healthy, happy, and alive. Lift it while you're still in the vicinity of the person your kids most want you to fall in love with.

January 9, 2011

Husbands and Sad Movies

Do you cry at sad movies? In an odd series of scientific studies in Israel, scientists have discovered that a chemical in women's sad tears literally turns men off.

The women's tears were collected while watching sad movies. Men were then given tears or saline solution to smell. Neither they nor the researcher applying the little pads to their upper lips knew which they got.

The men could not detect any difference in the smell. But the sad tears reduced their sexual arousal and, apparently, nothing else about them. They did not change their ratings of attractive women in photos as sad or empathetic. They did not increase the men's own sadness or empathy while watching sad movies, either.

But physiological indicators and even fMRI's of their brains agreed with their self-assessments: the women in the photos and movies aroused them less when the pads under their noses contained women's sad tears.

Curious, no? So, sad movies might be a really bad choice for your romantic date nights.

But what's the deal with make-up sex? Is stopping the tears a turn-on? Or are angry and hurt tears different from sad tears? And is the effect of women's tears on female partners any different? What do you think? Leave me a comment.

The Author

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

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