In her ebook about love and marriage, Hayden (http://persistentillusion.wordpress.com) has reminded me of what it takes to make a successful marriage. Time prohibits me from giving away all of her secrets, so I’ll just concentrate on some of her comments about how men and women differ in their feelings of self worth. “While a woman’s self worth is often based on whether she is loved, a man’s sense of self is typically based on feeling worthy.”  She reminds her readers to “talk each other up” and warns us, “Do not verbally assault him.” 

While this sage advice would seem obvious, it evidently is not because on a daily (yes daily, Folks) hear partners berating each other. Sometimes it’s directly to each other and can be subtle or obvious. Rolling one’s eyes when her beloved  forgets to carry out the trash is subtle; calling him a selfish oaf is obvious…and as my mother would say, “uncalled for” too. Staring incredulously at your wife as she dives into a piece of cherry pie and ice cream is subtle (kind of), and asking her if she really needs those extra calories and fat grams is a little more blatant. Telling her she’s fat is really “nasty.”

Nasty has a nasty connotation. It’s one of those words that sounds like what it is, something especially unpleasant. Yet it’s a word I chose on purpose because social psychologists say they can often tell which engaged and married couples are going to “make it” in marriage and which ones aren’t based on one little thing: the proportion ratio of nice to nasty comments.

This makes perfect sense to me. Why would someone who sincerely loves another person knowingly make disparaging, hurtful, careless, or cruel remarks to him? Hayden remarks that it basically boils down to treating your beloved the way you want to be treated. Do you enjoy verbal assaults and putdowns? Would you enjoy thinking that your partner was berating you to his family or friends?  Would you feel wounded if he teased you about sensitive issues?

I’m summing with up with a reminder from Hayden to “Be excellent to one another.” Surely there are words you can speak and deeds you can do today that clearly demonstate your abiding love.

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