Dear Dr. Ellen: My husband just walked out the door and told me that he didn't want a Valentine's card from me this year because he's sick and tired of my critical nature. It's true. He never seems to get upset at me but for some reason so many things about him annoy me. We've been married for 6 years and have a 2 year old and a 4 year old. I've been crying about what he said all morning and don't know what to do. I know he'll be upset if I get him a card and I'll be upset if I don't. - Meg
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Dear Meg: To keep love alive, you have to be able to make your husband feel good about himself. When you first fell in love all you saw were his wonderful qualities. That's why they say, "Love is Blind." Unfortunately, as time goes you get so caught up in the business of raising children and the daily routine of life that you often focus more on what's wrong with a person than what's right. Honor his request and don't get a card. Instead, sit down and write him a love letter and include all the reasons why you love him. Before you do this I want you to really think about all the qualities you saw in him when you first fell in love. To help you shift from your present negative thinking to positive thinking, I want you to ask yourself these two questions:
1) How would someone else who has just fallen head over heels in love with my mate view the same personality traits that have begun to irritate me?
2) If my mate had only one more day to live, what would I be focusing on?
Remember there are at least two ways to view every personality trait, from a positive or negative viewpoint. I'll give you some examples. If you view your mate as unenthusiastic, another way of looking at it is that he is often patient, consistent and low-key. If you see your mate as indecisive, he's probably flexible, open-minded and philosophical. If he's disorganized, he's probably spontaneous, creative and multifaceted. If he's rigid, he's probably dependable, consistent and responsible. I hope you see my point. Everyone deserves to feel good about themselves when they are with you.
Then, after you are done with the love letter, make some love coupons and give them to him. If you don't have the time to do it by tomorrow, you can still use the idea for another occasion - the day you met, his birthday, or a no occasion gift. Somewhere write - "More valuable than money is my gift of LOVE to you. Because you are so special, you are worth my time, my energy and my effort."
Some ideas for coupons -
1. A morning of rest. Sleep as long as you want followed by breakfast in bed.
2. A soothing bubble bath followed by a massage from head to toe, guaranteed to relax that wonderful body of yours.
3. A lunch date at the restaurant of your choice. We'll enjoy the pleasure of each other's company. Who knows where we'll have "dessert"!
4. A steamy shower for two - guaranteed to make you feel clean "all over".
5. A shopping spree for the "nightie" of your choice. Let your imagination run wild and let me be your fantasy.
6. King for a day. You pick the day and your every wish will be my command.
7. One passionate evening in the room of your choice!
8. A snuggle date in bed. A day to watch T.V. and eat in bed. Nothing to do but relax in each other's arms.
9. Kiss and make-up session. If I have upset you in any way, just present this coupon and I'll listen to you, make it up to you and also say, "I'm sorry".
10. A 10-second kiss. You pick the time, day or night, and we will engage in a passionate 10-second kiss. I want to show you that, not only do I love you, but that I am still "in love" with you. - Dr. Loveawake