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How to Make Yourself Unhappily Married

How to make yourself unhappily married: expect anything other than love.

Say you expect to hear "I love you" or "You look great today." Lots of husbands and wives say such things, but yours doesn't. Does this mean you are not loved or not admired? Probably not. But if you believe it does, you are going to be unhappy.

You may be married to one of the millions of people who believe "talk is cheap." You should definitely ask for what you want to hear, but your husband or wife will not feel loving when they say those words.

This is hard to imagine for anyone who has attached a lot of meaning to words like these (or to "thoughtful" gifts or kissing or any other means of expressing love). So imagine your husband or wife asked you to show love by giving gum wrappers, leftover pieces of paper from chewing gum.

When you're feeling especially loving or when you're opening a piece of gum, you might remember you have been asked for these. And you might present one to your beloved, feeling a little bit silly and not the same as when you really show your love and get that warm glow inside and that melty look on your face.

Now imagine that you have brought yourself to give one, only to discover one is viewed as stingy, so it doesn't get the response you hoped for. But you still have no clue how many it would take to get that response. When you ask, you hear, "If I have to tell you, it won't feel loving. Just do what feels right." Unfortunately, zero gum wrappers feels right, because receiving gum wrappers feels like nothing to you. But on a day when you are over the moon in love with your mate, you'll buy out the store's supply of chewing gum and give out handfuls every 15 minutes until your spouse begs you to stop.

And what makes you feel over the moon in love? To some extent, receiving whatever it is that feels like love to you, whether it's great sex, a newborn child, a shiny new Harley, an afternoon of talking about what really matters to you, praise, or help cleaning out the garage does it. But even more, I have noticed, what makes you (or your spouse) feel in love is doing loving things. If they are received with gratitude, all the better, but it is the doing that feels great.

What doesn't feel great is doing those things and then being chastised for being unloving because you failed to do something else. And that is where a lot of marriages get in trouble. Both partners feel less loved.

So, to make yourself miserable, as I did in my first marriage, expect help with some chore or a certain type of gifts or romantic words or public displays of affection as a measure of how much you are loved.

To feel loved by your wife or husband, Expect Love.

It really is as simple as that.


It's also important to stop the comparisons. Just because a friend or co-worker's spouse got them a ___, or did ___, it does not mean your spouse is inferior for not doing something like that. Your spouse is doing their own things for you, in their own ways. You just have to learn to see them.

Well said, Robin!

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

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