I just finished reading Yours and Mine by Debbie Macomber. Tanner and Joanna are two divorced parents with eleven-year-old girls who are best friends. Their daughters scheme to get them to marry so their families can become one, but Joanna has been deeply wounded by her ex-husband who cheated on her, and she’s not ready to marry again. In a fit of anger, Tanner tells her that maybe her ex-husband had affairs because she didn’t tell him she loved him. In another book by this author, Thursdays at Eight, a divorced woman realizes her husband cheated on her because she didn’t show him how much she needed him. At the time, I thought that was ridiculous, but now, I think Debbie Macomber is trying to tell us something.
I thought back to a time last year when I visited my brother and his wife in Florida before they were separated. In the two weeks I was there, I rarely saw my sister-in-law display any affection toward my brother. Half the time, she was yelling at him or the kids for this or that minor infraction or ordering him around when she wasn’t carrying on a pleasant conversation with me. As a matter of fact, in the twenty or so years my brother and his wife have been married, I rarely saw my sister-in-law display affection towards my brother. It was always him who initiated contact, putting his arm around her while they were watching television, calling her kitty cat.. I could be wrong.
It’s possible my brother’s wife may have been more affectionate when they were behind closed doors, but I don’t think that’s enough. In the five years that I’ve been married, I’ve always felt a need for reassurance that I’m loved, not just when we were in the bedroom. The words I love you have never come easily to Bill, even before he had two strokes, but he shows his love many times by putting his arm around me, stroking and kissing me. Although he can’t see, he knows when I’m near and reaches out to me.. I hold him, stroke his hair, kiss him, and tell him many times a day how much I love him. Now that I’ve come to the realization that lack of affection may cause marital problems, I plan to express my love more often.
Maybe some people cheat on their spouses because they’re not getting enough affection. It doesn’t excuse such behavior, but it explains why they feel a need to seek love from people other than their partners. Significant others need to know they’re loved every day in every way possible. I’m glad I didn’t learn this lesson the hard way.
Isn’t it funny how romance novels can provide true insight on relationships? For more information about Debbie Macomber and her books, visit http://www.debbiemacomber.com/
Now, click on the link below to hear me sing one of Bill’s favorite songs. It will be available for at least a few days. This is another way I show him how precious he is to me. I love you, Bill, with all my heart.
Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome