It’s still the “little days” of February and we’re all still smiling here in Minnesota (despite the 8 inches of snow scheduled to arrive on our sidewalks today). Ah, smiling. It’s good for all even on the darkest days, no?

A smile emerged on my (Carol’s) weary/tired/week-5-of-the-semester-and-have-33-papers-to-grade-face the other day when I opened my email and found a note from a student who graduated a couple years back. She reported an outcome of What Happy Couples Do that neither super-intuitive Anna nor extra-smart-Steve-the-editor nor I (I’ll claim no special intellect here) would have predicted. Often, unpredictable moments like this bring a smile to my face. Because they catch me off guard in the most delightful of ways.

Here is an excerpt from the student’s note:

Hello Dr. Bruess! I’m up in _______ now in law school and freezing my tail off.

Lately, I’ve been down and out because of a combination of things; law school is hard, [this city] is depressingly cold, I’ve been single for about 1.5 years (continually jovial on top, but increasingly dreary and lonely inside, which is emphasized by seemingly everyone in my law school class is on the hot track to happily-married-ever-after-dom). I’ve been feeling this way for a little over a month, since Christmas break when I got to see my family and old friends. After a month of feeling this way it begins to take its toll creating anxiety and more sadness. But something tonight brought be back to your book, “What Happy Couples Do” and those feelings went away. After reading a number of those stories I felt such relief thinking I’d have that some day too, but I’ll just have to wait for it.

Sorry you’ll probably wake up to a seemingly sad e-mail, but it has a happy ending. Thank you for such a book that has enlightenment for singles too! My new “de-saddening” plan is to read an excerpt from the book or your blog whenever I’m feeling a little too lonely up here….

I hope you’re well

I’m more well every time I read one of these generous and heartfelt notes from a reader. About life. And its ups and downs. Because without the downs, would we really appreciate the up? When it comes to marriage and relationships and life, thank goodness for the downs (there are many) because they help spotlight the ups (and point them out to our busy little brains when they finally appear).

You hang in there, girl. I’ll bet – in no time – your plan will work.