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The Loving Perspective, Part 3

When you Assume Love and try to explain your husband's or wife's behavior as a loving act, do you draw a blank? We continue our series today with more tips for finding that explanation.

On Sunday, we looked at Love Languages. On Monday, we looked at genetic differences in our ability to read emotional cues. Today, we look at the calendar.

Are there days in your year with an emotional impact? My first husband's birthday almost always puts me in a sad and reflective mood, even though May is my favorite month of the year and cause for unexpected delight in all sorts of things.

On the anniversary of the day our son was born, I am almost always cheery and optimistic. The first week of September still puts me in a book-buying mood.

My husband has such a calendar, too. When looking for a loving explanation, it helps to recall anything I have learned about the effects of this month or date on him.

If children are involved, think back to what you know about the same time of year in his or her own childhood or to when your spouse was the age of each of the children. Was your spouse hit at a young age with the deployment, hospitalization, or death of a parent? Was he or she sent off to camp each summer? Was the start of the school year a happy or sad time? When did a sibling or friend die?

The more recent calendar can be helpful, too. One wife trying to explain an initially upsetting change in her husband tracked its start back to a particular month. When I asked what else had happened that month, she remembered his vasectomy. The context suddenly made sense of the change. He was dealing with the surgery, not being mean to her.

A husband realized after his wife was out the door in the morning that today was the day she was to see the doctor about something seen on her most recent mammogram. He was still trying to figure out why she seemed so unhelpful when he could not find the thumb drive with his book draft on it. It's amazing how quick the tables turn when you realize it wasn't about you after all. He went to send her a supportive text message and found his thumb drive behind his smart phone on his desk.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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