Want a Good Relationship? Treat Him Like a Dog

Want a more loving marriage? Learn from your pet.

from Reader's Digest | December 2010

Our pets wreak havoc, and we love them still. Do we tolerate our spouses in the same way? We ought to, says clinical psychologist Dr. Suzanne B. Phillips on psychcentral.com. “Most pets are loved in a way that makes us minimize … their demands.” Any animal behaviorist will tell us that when we shower our pets with positivity, we get back unconditional love. Want a more loving marriage? Learn from your pet.

Lighten up. “Whatever your mood, you will likely give your pet an animated hello and a display of affection” when you walk in the door, says Phillips. Your spouse should get the same.

Don’t assume bad intentions. The dog ate some of the mail. Then your husband hid the mail to keep it away from the dog. Now the mail can’t be found. You know the dog wasn’t trying to torture you by eating it. “While you may react to the dog’s deed with a choice expletive, you’ll probably choose cuddling later over holding a grudge,” Phillips says. Reality check: Your spouse wasn’t trying to torture you either.

Rise above. “Few owners fear their image will be tarnished by their pets’ behavior,” she says. So when your husband starts in with the corny jokes at a dinner out with friends, why not just smile and scratch his head?

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