Monthly Article Archives: November 2010

The State of Marriages: Are there Insights to Be Learned from Greeting Cards? – Part IIRobert Brooks, Ph.D.

In last month’s article I described my experience attempting to buy a birthday card for my wife Marilyn. I noted that over the years I have read many birthday, anniversary, and Valentine’s Day cards intended to be given from husbands to wives. Most began with an expression of regret for not stating often enough “I love you” or for not displaying affection or for not spending enough time together. I quickly determined that the apologetic cards far outnumbered those that did not voice regrets. I also judged that they did not reflect my behavior towards Marilyn. Fortunately, Marilyn agreed with this assessment and she liked the card I gave her this year. I tend to gravitate towards those cards that contain few words and focus on feelings of love rather than apologies. I find the fewer words on the card, the more words I write, which makes the message more personal and meaningful. My experience buying the latest card for Marilyn prompted me to reflect on our marriage as well as other marriages, including couples I have seen in marital therapy. In “googling” the words “happy marriage,” many citations appeared. I decided to review those pertaining to Dr. John Gottman,

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