Dear Feelings Doctor: I recently found some love/romantic letters hidden in a box in my wife's closet. We have been married for 18 years, and these letters are dated three years ago. How do I approach her? I am walking around not knowing what or who or anything right now.
— Hurt in Santa Barbara
Dear Hurt: I would like to be able to tell you that I am sorry for the pain you are feeling right now, but the truth is, even when there is a break in trust or fidelity or any number of ruptures that happen in a relationship, it offers us a time to really grow.
Get curious with your wife about why she is doing what she is doing, talk about whatever bond she has with this other person. Ask her, and then sit and really, really listen. Become a safe person for her to confide in.
The sense of criticism and judgment is what makes our partners seek other avenues to express their passions — sexual and otherwise. Couples who have the capacity to repair a relationship often get to the healing part of their love, too. We are born to love, and we are also in need of conflict so our relationships can grow and deepen. That can only happen it seems when we are challenged right to the edge!
Do you love your wife? Does she love you? If you both want to work on your marriage, roll up your sleeves and get to it.
Dear Feelings Doctor: My husband and I have a lot of wonderful friends. This one couple we have dinners with and go to concerts with have a very strange dynamic. She always brow beats him — constantly saying he is not this, too much of that, how come he can't be more like this person!
She is not nice to him, and then will turn and smile at us as if she has just reprimanded a naughty puppy. I really want to say something to her, but what and how?
— Strained in Santa Barbara
Dear Strained: You have painted a scenario that doesn’t work for you. Well, then give thanks and celebrate your own life. Every couple have their inner workings and dynamic that fit for them. If they seem cozy and happy with their day to day life, even though it feels off to you, who’s to say they need to change it?!
If their relationship doesn’t work for you, thank your lucky stars you have one that does! Maybe they go home at night and are so thankful they have their stuff instead of yours.
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Imagine This ... "Our Daily Thread"
Kneel down and surrender. Train your family to love others. Love can conquer the hardest heart. To the guardian of your marriage: “I still do.” Slow down, evaluate your life and your schedule. Man up, step up. Now is a good time to be the best that you can be.