I recently received this letter by email:
“I talked to you at a seminar over a year ago, and I described my husband, Martin, as critical, angry, distant, withdrawn, and unloving. You told me that I was just as angry and unloving as he was and that the only hope of having a loving relationship with him was to learn how to become loving myself. You told me to quit talking about him and instead to tell the truth about myself to friends who could love me unconditionally.
“At the time, I must say that I was offended. I could see so many things he was doing wrong, and thought I was the loving one in the relationship, so I couldn’t accept what you said about me being the one who needed to change. So I kept trying to change him, and as you might expect, our marriage only became more and more miserable. I finally realized that all my efforts had never succeeded in changing him one bit, and I certainly wasn’t happy. So I decided to read the books Real Love and Real Love in Marriage, and I devoted myself to being truthful about my own mistakes and finding unconditional love in my own life.
“As I felt more loved, I became much happier and more complete. Because I was already happy, I lost my need to nag at Martin all the time. I didn’t need him to change in order to be happy. Finally, I began to share the love in my life with him. I thought of what he needed instead of selfishly focusing on myself. And you know, it wasn’t hard. Loving unconditionally is pretty easy. Easier than fighting, for sure.
“A few weeks ago it suddenly occurred to me that Martin and I hadn’t had an argument in weeks. And I remembered that four times that week he had called me from work for no reason at all, just to talk to me and see how I was doing. One day, in fact, he met me for lunch. Another time we went shopping together — he hasn’t done that for years — and he stayed right by my side the whole time, talking to me. This change in him has happened so gradually and naturally that I didn’t even notice it at first. And here this is exactly what I’ve been wanting for the longest time. It’s exactly what I complained to you a year ago that I never got. Oh, and lately he’s been snuggling with me in bed.
“Greg, this is a miracle. As I write about it, tears run down my face. I thought my marriage was over, and I thought it was all his fault, but none of that was true. We just didn’t know how to love each other. Certainly I didn’t know how to love him, and I finally realized that I had a choice to make: I could keep complaining about him, or I could take the responsibility to change myself. I’m glad I finally listened and did what it took to become more loving. I can’t believe how different our lives are now.”
After counseling with thousands of couples, I am impressed with the consistently powerful effects of Real Love as it heals wounds and creates rich and lasting bonds between partners. Real Love doesn’t repair or revive every relationship, but it’s the only power capable of creating the personal joy and healthy relationships we all really want. No amount of trading and manipulation can do that.
If you want to find, create, and maintain loving relationships — with everyone, not just a spouse — dedicate yourself to becoming more unconditionally loving. Don’t find fault with others. Don’t expect them to change. Tell the truth about yourself, find the Real Love you need, and then share it with those around you. You will experience rewards beyond what you can imagine.
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