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Your Marital Bliss Depends on What You Expect

Expect Love. Most husbands and wives enter marriage intending to give you lots of it.

What happens? Why does it stop? Why is every day not as love-filled as our wedding day?

It happens when we think we know what our spouses will do to show they love us. We think we know, so we look for that, instead of looking for any other form of love. We look for dinners we like, when we like them. When they are late or unappetizing, we don't stick around for the hug. We don't look forward to the vacation those extra hours at work paid for. We miss out on real love while looking for our picture of love.

We look for help with the diapers or the dog-walking. When we don't get it, we turn down the chance to get out to a museum or a ball game together, because it seems unfair to let the unhelpful spouse benefit from a sitter. Or we come back from taking care of the diapers or the dog-walking in too foul a mood to invite any affirming words or sex. We miss out on real love while looking for our picture of love.

If you want a really happy marriage, Expect Love. Don't be caught with a yardstick when you are offered love better measured with a protractor, scale, weather vane, barometer, or measuring cup. Let love arrive in any of its glorious forms, not just the one you expected.

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

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