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Update Your Picture of the Person You Married

Rejection is no fun. When we get rejected, we make note of why and try to avoid a repeat. Over time, this leaves us with a distorted view of our husband or wife, because a good percentage of rejections have nothing to do with us or what we asked for.

The distortion keeps us from even suggesting things we would enjoy. It prevents us from offering some great Third Alternatives when we disagree, too. So be sure you re-test your beliefs about your spouse's preferences from time to time.

Sex play that a newlywed woman turns down in her twenties might be more than welcome in her thirties or post-menopause. Our bodies and our needs change over time. Ask again, gently.

When you proposed that photography field trip and got that resounding no a few years ago, maybe it had nothing to do with photography or field trips. Maybe it had to do with a sore ankle or the argument you two had about bread pudding. Don't miss out on a possible shared hobby that includes exercise and nature and beautiful views: ask again now.

You can do this in reverse, too. I have a garlic allergy, so when given a choice between two restaurants, I seldom choose the Italian one. My husband simply quit even suggesting Italian restaurants, even though he loves Italian food. So I checked out menus online and found one to invite him to recently. We both loved our lunches, and "Patty doesn't like Italian food" was updated.

Remember that only a fraction of your earlier conclusions will be wrong now, so don't expect a hearty "yes" to every suggestion. Take the risk of a "no" or two to refresh your relationship and add more fun to your lives.


Tammy liked Cafe Pita +, then she disliked it, then she recently liked it until she even more recently disliked it. I have always liked it. I find this more than mildly amusing. She was patient with my aversion to mushrooms, but now I eat them most of the time. Updating our spouse's version is survival. Have a neato Tuesday!

LOL, CJ. You two sound like you are having so much fun together. I hope everybody reads your book on how you got there!

Although I can't quite relate to your restaurant differences, from a movie perspective, my wife can't stand horror flicks. She is a fan on the other hand of "Greys Anatomy" It's not as much of a compromise as it is respect for each other's alone time when we each curl up to our own interests. I think doing things on your own with love for your spouse is an important attribute of healthy marriage. Agree? Disagree?

Jason, I definitely agree that, "doing things on your own with love for your spouse is an important attribute of healthy marriage." Absolutely!

And I like your example. To recast this blog post for this particular difference in tastes...

Wives and horror movies both change over time. Your guiding rule might have been "go to horror flicks alone" while hers was "stay home when he wants to see a movie I don't like." If her feelings about horror flicks should happen to change, she could become resentful about feeling disinvited when you are actually going alone out of love and respect for her. That is the sort of situation that erodes a marriage. So I would suggest every few years, before going off to that next horror flick without your wife, you check whether she still dislikes all of them.

And, yes, I also hope she will Assume Love and think twice before jumping down your throat if she ever does want to go with you to a horror flick. There is little worse than having your wife angry at you while you believe you are acting out of love and respect for her feelings.

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

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