Meanwhile, Carolyn Hax is continuing to support my belief that she's the "one true voice" of advice columnists, who really gets people's secret little behaviors. Are your parents picking on your partner? "When your mother berates your wife for anything, you make it clear to your mom that she's to back off. Adults don't scold adults." Do you feel like you're always in the wrong? Maybe your partner doubts her own worth, or maybe you want someone you won't get too attached to, or you don't expect to be valued.
These arguments all play out in a NY Times article about saving marriages (by Laurie Abraham), which reads well for any long term relationship. What do you have invested? What do you still get out of a relationship after decades? "Marriage typically meets our sharply felt needs for security and predictability ... but in those relationships that last well, people take the leap of believing that they actually don’t know exactly who the other person is or what he or she is capable of — the absolute knowingness is a fantasy, anyway — and that there is new terrain to be discovered." Lots of good stuff in there, especially for the counsellor friends on my list, and well worth reading, even if it hit me a bit in the emotional solar plexus as lunch time reading.