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Long Island

My Turn: Forget love, work hard to stay in like

I’m a hospice visiting nurse and I often am taken back by the affection I see between two people who have been together for 50-plus years. I often tell them that I’m awed to see that after all these years, they still “like” each other. I use the word “like” because after 46 years of being married, I know I “love” my husband and I know he “loves” me, but I also know there are days where I am not all that likable. And, truth be told, when he gets annoyed with me, I’m looking at him and not “liking” him all that much!

Love is not blind; it’s just so darn bright that we end up not seeing the whole picture. All couples start out the same way — Crazy in love! However, as comfort and familiarity set in, they also open a path that could dim the attractiveness of the other person. And I have seen that . . . One couple seems to hold the passion for each other forever, while another watches the fire die out.

When I was getting married, there was a Carly Simon song, “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be,” and the words depict a father sitting alone in the dark and his wife sitting alone in their bedroom. I remember hearing that song and thinking, “I never want that to be a picture of my marriage.” With much thought on the subject, I’ve found a few things that I think are worth sharing.

First, get yourself a pair of pink glasses. We all have shortcomings but when you put your pink glasses on, you can see the person you fell in love with and not the person who has just ticked you off. Then learn to “dust yourself off”: Get over the small stuff and move on; don’t harbor bad thoughts. They will only take you to a dark place where even your pink glasses will be useless because you won’t be able to see the sun!

Next and most important, never get into a “negative roll.” I once read a Dear Abby column that said when you are feeling furious, hurt and ready to take a walk, make yourself think: “Is my life better with or without this person?” If it is better “with,” then stop right there and do whatever you can to get back to a good place. Over the years, I have come to realize that you can only change yourself, not the other person. So the next thought is: “How can I make this better?” And put all your focus on you making it better. If you don’t stop it there, you get into negative jungle where your negativity grows and this causes the other person’s negativity to grow. Before you know it, you are in a web you will have a hard time getting out of. Get back to feeling good about each other and seeing the qualities you were so attracted to in the first place. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, which gives you the opportunity to turn anything in your life around!

I think the other part of the secret to liking someone forever is that they like you back. And that should be easy if you get them to put on those pink glasses. They cost nothing and can make all the difference in the world!

Fay Scally,

Old Bethpage


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