, I'm sorry to hear that.
Are things OK now? One of my good friends in Albany, early 60s, had a heart attack and didn't even realise at first, which could have cost her dearly. She thought she was just having indigestion. It's only because she mentioned it to a friend on the phone, and that person said, "I'm coming around to take you to the hospital just in case - don't protest, no skin off your nose if it's nothing serious!" that she went to get checked out. She said there was no telltale pain in the arm, it really was indistinguishable from cases of bad indigestion she had had. I've read since that women's heart attack signs are often less clearcut than men's. How did your wife's case present? What did she notice?
Good Antipodean vibes and very best wishes to both of you.
, how long have you been married? 30-ish years or so? It's an art holding things together and keeping them happy. Date nights are great. Foregrounding and commenting on the things you love about your partner, and doing it often. Noticing kindness, courage, humour, originality, going the second mile, thoughtfulness, etc etc - and naming and appreciating these in conversation (with a big hug). Taking nothing for granted - looking with fresh eyes. Little surprises. ...Naughty example: Recently I was in a newsagency and laughing over the cards. There was one that said, "Happy birthday - another year older and you still don't need Viagra."
On an impulse, I bought it and put a message in it for him and hid it under his pillow. He had a good laugh and is displaying it in his office.
He often surprises me with a book or CD he knows I'd like. I make him little treats, like chocolate nut horns, cherry clafoutis, chocolate and walnut biscuits, and spring them on him. You can secretly buy concert tickets etc. So much fun stuff you can do!... Going back to old adventures you've had - looking at photos of trips etc. Counting all your blessings. I'm well aware you've been married longer than us and could therefore give us a tip or two as well. I'm just thinking about what works well for us. I had zero good role modelling for having a happy marriage in my birth family, and of course if you have it there, then you'll already have a lot of the behaviour patterns by osmosis and on autopilot that predispose towards good relationships. For me it was the opposite, and I had to work really hard at it.
We had a tough time for a couple of years after we were married because of a lot of unresolved baggage for both of us. It can become so easy to foreground the negatives, and to forget why you fell in love in the first place - and it nearly killed us. We only just got through it, but it made us stronger, and I am so glad we didn't give up. Negative stuff spirals, but so can positive stuff. I think also that men often have difficulty sharing things emotionally, because of gender socialisation norms, so they don't always voice their thoughts when that would be good for their wives to actually hear. It's good to give yourself a push sometimes. There are times I have to literally interview Brett to hear what's on his mind.
One funny anecdote to come out of those tough times we had early is the one and only time I have seen my husband drunk. He just went for the cooking brandy and had way too much of it because upset about an impasse we had. They say that intoxication brings out pre-existing proclivities in people, and amplifies them. So, for instance, lots of people get aggressive and rude when drunk. What my husband did was to want to have irrational conversations, and when I declined and went to bed, he took books off the bookshelves in the lounge (this is before we lived on our farm) and arranged them all over the floor. He then came to tell me, "Sue, I've made a great work of art, you really must come see it!"
He kept going on about how he was going to exhibit it and win an art prize.
I can laugh about it now, but at the time, it wasn't simple fun. Brett says, by the way, that his marriage tip for other guys is, "Washing the dishes is men's work!"
This little book has lots of ideas and tips I found helpful: https://www.amazon.com/Shatterproof-.../dp/0757307094
...the comment online is a bit hyped, but don't let it put you off. We're in a happy relationship now (with the same speed bumps at times as everyone who's doing the long haul), but even with a happy relationship, there's still some really great ideas in that book.
, I'm imagining a cloud of snowflakes. Are the butterflies likely to come back as the weather warms up for you?