Hi Dr. Laura, I am constantly amazed at how couples struggle in maintaining a loving relationship, yet one or both parties are always thinking of themselves rather than the spouse. I married at 21 and will celebrate my 35th anniversary this July.
In normal times, at the beginning of every weekend, I sit with my wife for morning coffee and ask her if there is anything she needs done around the house or anything special she wants to do for the weekend. It is not an empty question. If she says she would like something done, it goes to the top of my list and, if possible, it gets done. If she wants to go for a long walk with the dog, I fit it in as more important than my needs. When I start a project, it gets done and not left half-completed. Sometimes, I really don't feel like doing her request, but I suck it up and always feel better when I see her smile and thank me. She also pays attention to my needs.
The relationship works when both parties put the other's needs first over their own needs -- when actions show you care more than empty word promises.
Keep up the good work of trying to help people.
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