By Shana Aborn
Remember that "happily ever after" you dreamed about when you got married? So now that you're together, why does it seem to be always just out of reach? If only he made more money, things would be so much easier, you think. I'd love him more if he'd just lose a couple of pounds and stop dropping his dirty socks next to the laundry hamper.
Sure, we all fantasize. But when you spend most of your time thinking and dreaming about what might be, you're setting yourself up for disappointment if that perfect future never materializes. What's more, says Dr. Haltzman, "If you hold on to an ideal that may never be met, you lose the opportunity to appreciate the good qualities of what's already in front of you."
How to jump in and enjoy the here and now? Start by writing down all the ways your life is good and your needs are being met, right down to basics like "I have a roof over my head" and "I have plenty to eat." Then expand that list to include everything you love about your husband, from the way he looks in his faded jeans to the way he puts his arm around you when you watch TV. Next, take the time to thank him when he does something nice -- whether it's a household chore or an especially sweet kiss. "When you say your appreciation out loud, you get more out of it," explains Dr. Haltzman.
"When my husband gets on my nerves, I try to remember why I choose to be with him," says Kim. "Sometimes when we're on the road and he tailgates someone, I just want to lunge over and strangle him. But then I step back and look at all his bigger-picture qualities: He's an amazing father, he perseveres, he's loving and kind. And he cuts me some slack, too, like the times when I eat peanut butter with a spoon straight from the jar."