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After a stressful counseling session a few weeks ago, my wife of nearly 19 years told me, “I’m going to try to be nicer to you.”

My external reaction was, “OK.”

My internal reaction was much different. Internally I wondered, “Why would you need to try?” You’ve made the decision to spend the rest of your life with me and followed through on that decision for nearly 20 years. You are the most important single thing and person in my life. You are literally my whole life. I’d march straight into hell for you.

Why would you need to try to be nice to me, the only person who feels that way about you? What do I need to do differently for you to not have to try to be nice to me?

I don’t understand.