|(Downy woodpecker in my backyard)|
One of my "go-to" books for marriage counseling is Hope-Focused Marriage Counseling: A Guide to Brief Therapy, by Everett Worthington.
Worthington says "troubled marriages usually show weaknesses in love. Love is being willing to value your partner and being unwilling to devalue your partner. Generally, troubled marriages are those in which each partner devalues the partner and fails to take opportunities to show and tell the other how much the partner is valued.
A troubled marriage is one in which partners devalue each other and fail to take every opportunity to value each other. Generally, also, as love has lessened people lose confidence that the marriage can ever improve, and their demoralization and loss of hope prevent them from working on changing the relationship.
If you are going to improve your relationship, you must do the following:
□ Regain a willingness to work on improving your relationship and sustain that willingness long enough so that the marriage can bounce back. The worse off your marriage is now, the longer you must be willing to work to change it before you give up.
□ Focus on the good things that you do. If you focus on the successes and try to ignore the failures for a period, you’ll regain a sense of faith in the relationship and confidence that it can improve.
□ Increase your efforts to value your partner in love at every opportunity, and increase your efforts to avoid devaluing your partner. To improve, love your partner more by valuing him or her." (Worthington, p. 82)
What is "love?"
"Love as being willing to value the other person
and being unwilling to devalue that person."
Worthington, p. xxix