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Do You Love Your Spouse as Much as You Love Yourself?


love_your_spouseWe have all heard “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” This is a lifelong challenge for all of us. The first person we should turn our attention to is our spouse.

If I hope to have my spouse pay attention to me, and to care about my life, do I show my spouse that I care about him/her? Do I take an interest in his/her problems and pleasures, or do I resent him/her? Instead of complaining about not getting enough attention because my spouse is riveted to the game, I could make him/her a special snack to enjoy. (Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have him/her bring me a glass of wine, or a cup of tea while I was reading in the bathtub?)

If we hope to be forgiven, we must also be willing to forgive our spouse. What if I had a midlife crisis and had an affair, and then woke up one day to realize how stupid I had been and how much I loved my spouse.  How much I would wish to be forgiven! No, it wasn’t I who had the affair-it was (s)he. And it hurt and I am angry, and devastated. Yes. But if you had been stupid, would you want to be forgiven? (I am not talking about serial philandering. And I am not trying to be insensitive to the awful pain an affair causes.) For that matter, what if it was I who wrecked the car, or forgot to pay the bill, or came into the marriage with too much debt, etc. etc.

Do I resent my spouse because (s)he is ill, and has to go to the doctor/hospital a lot, leaving me with all the tasks of everyday life, and no help from him/her? If I was ill, would I hope that my spouse would care about how I feel, and if I was scared, and if I was comfortable or needed something to drink or eat, etc.?

We all want true love. We want our spouses to be there for us in good times and in bad, and to care about us in the intimate ways that only (s)he can. We want to be forgiven for our human frailty. We want to be appreciated for our contributions. We may not always be able to get that true love for ourselves, but we can always strive to give it to our spouses.