A recent article by Suzanne B. Phillips, a clinical psychologist, on PsychCentral puts forth that if couples treated each other the way they do their four-legged friends, their relationships would be much healthier. She asks us to consider the following:
Compare the way you greet your dog to the way you greet your husband/wife/significant other when you enter your domicile. Who gets the bigger greeting?
Do you hold a grudge against your cat when she “forgets” to use the litter box? Now what about when hubby “forgets” to put down the toilet seat?
When your dog chews your favorite pair of sneakers or jumps up on you with muddy paws, do you take it personally and assume the pooch did it on purpose? Probably not. Yet when your nearest and dearest breaks your latest gadget or dyes all your jockeys pink in the wash, does it creep into your mind that maybe he/she might have done it deliberately?
The good doctor makes some valid points. Yes, we should all strive to accept our loved ones, flaws and all. However, people, unlike animals, most certainly do have ulterior motives. Those pink jockeys speak volumes, my friends.
The article reminded me of reviews I read of What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage by journalist Amy Sutherland. After watching animal trainers work their magic, Sutherland decided to adapt their techniques to her loved ones, focusing especially on her husband. She was delighted to see her marriage improve and to discover changes in herself as well, as she became less judgmental and more forgiving of others.
As for myself, I’ll continue with What Pablo Taught Me. In a nutshell, for a happy relationship: enjoy your meals, go on long walks together, and administer plenty of belly rubs. Works like a charm!