Weird love advice that works: Be a dog.

It feels crazy good when someone is excited to see you. Give that gift to your family every day – but especially on Valentine's day.

GRETCHEN RUBIN: When you think about romance and sweethearts and spouses, one of the most striking observations from the research – it's sad, but it's true – is that, often, married couples will treat each other with less consideration than they show to their friends, or even to strangers. And when I read this, I thought, oh my gosh, can that be true? And I realized, of course it's true, because the people that we're married to are so familiar to us, they are so close to us; they are really part of our lives, and it's very easy to take them for granted or to make them the brunt of a bad mood or a short temper, and to forget to use our consideration, our good manners, our gentle language.

And so one of the things that I remind myself of all the time is that I want to show as much consideration to my husband as I would to any passing stranger or friend. And I also try to remind myself to show my husband as much or more affection as my dog, because when my husband comes and goes from the apartment, I want to give him a real hello and a real goodbye. I want to give him a kiss and a hug and really look him in the eye and say that I'm glad to see him. If my dog can do it, I can do it.

  • The research is sad but true: People are often more considerate to friends and strangers than they are to their partners.
  • Gretchen Rubin's advice? When your partner walks in the door, show them as much affection as your dog does. Be excited to see them! Give a real hello and a real goodbye.
  • Appreciate your partner: It's the easiest thing to do, and the easiest thing to forget.

Personal Growth

The life choices that had led me to be sitting in a booth underneath a banner that read “Ask a Philosopher" – at the entrance to the New York City subway at 57th and 8th – were perhaps random but inevitable.

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Surprising Science
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