Missing that Romantic Feeling

Q: : I am having trouble with my husband of three years. We fight and argue but then we make up. I want us both to be happy, and we have a baby. We almost divorced, though. I left because I didn't like his attitude. He wasn't the same guy he was when we first met. When I left, he kept our baby and wasn't going to let me see her until we got a divorce. We got back together, but at first he said he didn't love me like he did when I left. Now I'm not sure he really loves me or not. I tried to spice up our love life; I want it to be romantic, but I don't know what to do or say. I want things to be like they were when we first met. I have trouble keeping the house clean and fixing homemade meals. I really want to be the wife he always wanted, and I want him to want me in his life. -- Rene, 23

Dr. Susan: Both of you need a reality check. No one's marriage is the same after three years and the birth of a baby. The romance almost always simmers down a little. It also sounds as though both of you are hotheaded. You left and he kept the baby? I doubt that his changed feelings have much to do with your imperfect cooking and cleaning. When you both made the commitment to marry and then began to raise a family, you promised to stick together through thick and thin. Perhaps you need to learn how to fight more fairly, with less arguing and more clarifying of viewpoints. I understand your urge to be the wife he always wanted, but that was a fantasy and this is real. Nobody gets exactly what they wanted. We think we do, and then a couple years pass by, and surprise! It's not that our mates have changed so much, but we see them differently now. Grown-ups accept that and make a point of getting to know the real person they are hitched to. Because you share a baby and both of you care about her, a couple sessions with a counselor might help you get along better.

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