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Re: I know this is a parenting board, but I need opinions!

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Posted by Morgaine on November 11, 2003 at 07:00:17:

In Reply to: I know this is a parenting board, but I need opinions! posted by Lonely on November 10, 2003 at 16:00:48:

I got this from the Dr. Laura site

Subject: If You Change Your Behavior, Your Mind Follows Suit
Date: 2003-11-06

If You Change Your Behavior, Your Mind Follows Suit

Dear Dr. Laura,

After listening to your caller today who wanted to know what to do because he didn’t “feel” love for his wife anymore, but felt like he would towards a sister, I felt compelled to comment.

Two years ago I was in a similar situation. I merely tolerated being married because I didn’t want my three children (at the time ages 16, 10, and 3) to come from a broken home. I finally came to the realization one day that I was responsible for my feelings, and I did something about it.

I resolved right then and there that nobody – friends, family, coworkers (not even you, Dr. Laura) – would hear me say anything negative or critical about my wife. Every word anybody heard from me would be only positive when it concerned her. If I had anything of that nature to say, I could lovingly discuss it with her or shut up about it and that was that. I also decided that, no matter how I FELT, I would always treat her as though she was the single most beautiful thing God had ever created, and that any act of love I could do for her, I would do. I wake up in the morning and bring her a fresh, hot cup of coffee in bed. Then I warm up the shower and make sure to wash her back for her (I didn’t have to pretend I enjoyed that). I cheerfully cook dinner when she has had a difficult day, give our daughter her bath and insist that she take a nap on Sunday afternoon after church. Although I sometimes find the topic as exciting as a cold mashed potato sandwich, I pay attention to what she says and comment on it because that is more important than what is happening on Law and Order on television. I even do grocery shopping, alone or with her if she likes. I even go clothes shopping with her (usually every man’s nightmare) and give her genuine input and show honest interest. The idea is to spend time with her, regardless of what we are doing. I looked for genuine ways to compliment her (I’m really impressed with your knowledge of special needs children). I pamper, take care of, and generally spoil my sweetheart as much and as often as I can.

Since you have a background in psychology, you can guess what happened. If you change your behavior, your mind follows suit. I didn’t have to spend much time telling her how incredible she was before I began to believe everything I told her. Tonya became more beautiful by the day, and is far more intelligent than I ever gave her credit for before my “awakening.”

It has been over two years, and our life together is far and away better than anything I could have imagined. Tonya is my best friend, wife, sweetheart and companion all wrapped up into one fabulously beautiful package, and we grow closer by the day. I don’t always “feel” love, but I always make it a point to “do” loving things so that she can “feel” loved. We will be married 23 years on the 22nd of this month, and people we meet think we are newlyweds because we are so affectionate with each other.

If I could talk to your caller, I would tell him to stop expecting his marriage to fix itself. Love isn’t a feeling, it is an action word. Love is what you promised to do when you stood before the preacher with the second most beautiful woman in the world (my Tonya is the first). So stop whining and start loving your wife. The rewards are far beyond what you can imagine. I am living proof of that.

John L.

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