Is This What It Looks Like?

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We all have different gifts and strengths. When a spouse’s behavior upsets us, it makes sense to check if this is just a surprising use of a talent.
Running late? Watch to see if your artist mate is admiring a sunset or incoming storm clouds rather than simply ignoring the clock.
Upset by flirting? Watch to see if your mate’s social skills and enthusiasm are being applied to everyone or only to those who seem to be your sexual competitors. Just because the recipient could interpret the behavior as flirting does not mean your spouse has any intention of focusing these skills on any one person.
Feeling embarrassed by your mate’s center-stage position? Watch your spouse’s eyes. Is he or she entrancing others by being fully into using a gift of music-making, dancing, or juggling, or is this a plea for attention? The eyes will tell you. If it’s the first, join his or her adoring public.
Wish your mate were dressed differently for an event? Look around for others dressed similarly. Are they the very people your mate likes to be around? If no one is dressed like this, is your mate standing a little taller or exuding a bit more self-confidence in this costume?
Always Assume Love when you find yourself upset with your spouse. Try on the assumption that you are still loved by the same wonderful, gifted, good person you fell in love with and see if there is another explanation than that initial knee-jerk story that you married a jerk who loves to see you squirm. Because if you can see the gifts, see the happiness they bring your mate, maybe you can get over your discomfort enough to look on this special moment with love.

About the author

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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  • I really like your perspective in this post. This line really says it all, Patty…
    “and see if there is another explanation than that initial knee-jerk story that you married a jerk who loves to see you squirm”
    When we look for the negative, I’m sure we’ll find it. Let’s not do that! It is so much more fun to find the positive!

By Patty Newbold

Patty Newbold

I am a widow who got it right the second time. I have been sharing here since February 14, 2006 what I learned from that experience and from positive psychology, marriage research, and my training as a marriage educator.

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