Seven things you get from a good relationship
Upon the rarest of occasions (okay maybe weekly), my wife gets a little tweaked at me. I don’t know what I did, my head is buried in a book or the computer, I’m an innocent by-sitter. But I listen to her complaint du jour and give her a chance to share (read: vent) her feelings.
Why do I (and the rest of us in happy marriages) put up with it? Because what I get from this amazingly loving relationship far outweighs any issues we think we may have. Here is some of what comes my way.
1. Emotional support. She is my cheerleader as well as my shoulder to cry on when I don’t win the big game. She knows my wounds and triggers and avoids them, because she can talk to me in a way that makes me feel loved. The knowledge that I will always and in all ways have her unconditional support gives me the strength to take on the world.
2. Honest advice. I don’t know it all, and she comes from a very different perspective, so her input has made me do things differently. And the results are good. Her advice is never brutal or a putdown; she does it with kindness.
3. Unexpected niceties. I had a therapist’s version of hell week at a workshop I went to recently. It was a ten-hour day capped off with a four-hour drive. But when I finally got home, my wife had my favorite dinner ready. I showered, ate, and she made me rest the whole next day.
4. More love. The longer we are together, the more I feel the love. Yes, some moments make me want to visit my cousin on his boat in Mexico, but that doesn’t happen often. Mostly I just feel her warm energy reminding me that everything is okay because we are together. And for us, that is all that really matters. Everything else is small stuff.
5. A new view. My wife comes from Europe, so her way of doing things is very different, her outlook on life is very positive, and she is very easily pleased and amused (except by my lame jokes). Through her eyes and heart, I experience life twice as much and twice as nice. Just the sight of a crepe myrtle tree in bloom makes her happy, and that joy is contagious. Lucky me.
6. Family. Yes, we are a family, just the two of us and our dog Foxy and Phoenix the cat. Her mother is visiting just now, so it feels like all the love in the world is in my home. And I know there is more to come. She has a brother and sister I have yet to meet, and I even have a new baby nephew. I find the whole thing very heartwarming, and feeling like I’m in an episode of “The Waltons” keeps a smile on my face.
7. She has my back. I know that no matter what happens, she will care for me. She can criticize the daylights out of me, but nobody else better try, because they will arouse the tiger in my sweetheart.
Giving love is as good as getting it. The joy that we share makes this the best time in our lives. We are openly and honestly loving each other and doing the work to keep that happening every moment of every day. It isn’t work – it’s pure happiness.
Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.” Follow his daily insights on Twitter at @BartonGoldsmith.