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You Were My Sunshine

Man in classic red convertible with both arms raised high with delightWe marry someone who fills our life with sunshine. It feels so good, we cannot help but sing—and say yes.

Turn a few calendar pages, and suddenly, it's a dark day. The sun is almost completely hidden by dark clouds that get our clothes wet and frizzle our hair. Worse yet, it's the eighth dark day in a row. No tornadoes ripping the roof off. No hurricane knocking the trees over. No flood destroying everything we own. Nothing awful enough to call in the Red Cross. But we're not singing any more, and we miss it fiercely.

Our self-protective, threat-aware lizard brain urges us to escape. Don't wait around to find out how much worse it will get. The best defense is a good offense. Rain on your spouse's parade and move yours to the other side of town.

Our friends, equally protective of us but a bit more worldly, tell us to hurry off to see someone who can fix our spouse. If he or she won't join us, we can whine, plead, beg, cry for sunshine.

But the most effective strategy? Whomp up some sunshine! Do things you enjoy. Try new things that sound like fun. Smile compassionate smiles at everyone and feel the warmth of their response. Say and do the nicest things for your mate, but only the ones that make you feel like a real superhero.

Bad weather is temporary, even in a marriage.

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

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