If my friend could do that for her boss, why couldn’t I do it for Jamie? Deep down, I had only love for Jamie— but I was allowing too many petty issues to get in the way. I wasn’t living up to my own standards of behavior, and then, because I felt guilty when I behaved badly, I behaved even worse. 

Love is a funny thing. I’d donate a kidney to Jamie without a moment’s hesitation, but I was intensely annoyed if he asked me to make a special stop at the drugstore to pick up shaving cream. Studies show that the most common sources of conflict among couples are money, work, sex, communication, religion, children, in-laws, appreciation, and leisure activities. Having a newborn is also particularly tough. 

However, these categories— as seemingly all-inclusive as they were— didn’t quite capture my problem areas. I thought hard about my particular marriage, and the changes I could make to restore the tenderness and patience of our newlywed, prebaby days.

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