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Have a State of the Union Meeting (DW#558)

Time investment: One hour a week

It is one of life’s great mysteries that people who like to discuss all issues as they arise are often married to people who do not like to discuss any issues at all. Ever.

The state of the union meeting addresses concerns of both these types of people.

If you ritualize a weekly meeting to discuss issues in your relationship, both spouses can relax for the rest of the week. The conflict avoidant person can relax because they know that conflict will only be brought up once a week and not everyday. And the person wanting to discuss issues can also relax knowing that there is at least one hour a week where their concerns will be heard and addressed.

Dr. Gottman’s research has confirmed that when couples spend just one hour per week discussing areas of concern within the relationship, it transforms the way partners manage conflict. 

When I work with couples in conflict, they find that this dedicated space to discuss issues gives them the...

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Go on a date (DW#557)

As your marriage ages it is very easy to let go of the rituals of early romantic love. The masters of relationships, however, know that the intentionality of continuing to date your partner is a wise investment for the long term health of your marriage. 

So what makes a date a date? 
1)   It is "we" time when you focus on connecting with your partner and catch up with what has been on their mind and occupying their attention. 
2)   It is NOT a time to problem solve or talk about issues in your relationship (that is a very different ritual)
3)   Try to stay away from the business of running a house and a family.  Your children are very important and if you focus on connecting as friends you will be better parents to your children
4)   It is time to focus on your friendship as a couple apart from the issues that may be plaguing your relationship at the time. Intentional love means that you don’t...

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Express affection (DW#556)

This week we are continuing with our series on hacking your marriage which simply means developing and implementing short but powerful rituals for a strong relationship.

Time investment for today’s hack is about 5 minutes a day or a total of 35 minutes per week.

Do you believe that in order to express affection you have to necessarily feel loving or affectionate? Do you wait for the feelingof affection before you engage in affectionate behaviour?

Research shows that happy couples actually develop habits of affectionate behaviour which in turn lead to feelings of affection.


In other words, expressing physical affection when you’re together is vital to feeling connected to each other. So for today’s marriage hack, make sure to take a few moments to cuddle each other before falling asleep and take a moment to kiss goodnight. 

These moments of affection are a great way to let go of the minor stressors and annoyances that have built up over the...

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Show off (a little) (DW#545)

Today’s marriage hack is especially important for women: we women tend to bond over sharing our woes and life’s challenges. We believe that it brings us closer to others. And one of the challenges that we sometimes talk about and bond over, are the (perceived) failings and foibles of our spouses.

Make no mistake: this habit (which we think is harmless fun) is destructive for our relationships. Our spouses do not think it is funny or cute when we are sharing their idiosyncrasies in public.

This habit is also destructive in another way. It normalizes low expectations from men and marriage, and it normalizes talking about our spouses in a disrespectful way. It is no wonder that modern society in general and young people in particular are so disenchanted with the institution of marriage.

So instead of complaining about your marriage or your spouse, try this hack: Try bragging a little. Compliment your spouse in public. Point out their positive qualities. Talk about what they...

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Play footsie or hold hands (DW#544)

When people first get together with their spouses, they find every opportunity to touch each other. (Remember playing footsie under the table or holding hands while watching a movie?)

Couples who have learnt to hack their marriage know that it is vitally important to maintain pleasant and playful touch in their relationship beyond the physically intimate relationship. 

Why is touch so important? 

Firstly, it is a fundamental human need. Touch is essential for babies’ development for their physical, emotional and eventually social health. In fact, touch is the first of the five senses to develop. The need for positive touch, the connection, and reassurance it can bring is hardwired in us. We now know that touching someone in a loving and positive way releases Oxytocin – a feel good and bonding hormone which results in attachment to the person who causes the release of this hormone within us.

Moreover, to touch someone you love is to acknowledge their presence...

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A list of what annoys you (DW#540)

Any of us who are in long term relationships know that it is not always fun and games. In fact, our loved ones tend to trigger and annoy us in ways that we did not even think possible!

Here is the thing: this is completely normal – these petty annoyances are NOT a sign that your relationship is in trouble. (as we say repeatedly, there is conflict in the happiest of relationships – it is how you deal with the conflict that determines the health of your marriage and family). 

The bad news about these annoyances and triggers is that they are not likely to change. And unless we learn to take them lightly and with a good dose of humour, they might even increase over time. 

So how we learn to live with what drives us crazy? 

Today’s marriage hack comes from a list that I learnt about many years ago. It is rather unique. 

A long term married woman shared that she keeps a list of what she hates about her husband. When I heard this, my positively-oriented...

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How not to forget your intention (DW#537)

Despite our best intentions (pun intended :) ) life gets in the way and it can be challenging to keep self growth and living our best selves in the fore front on a daily basis. 

If we do not engage with our intention frequently, it can be so easy to forget it completely. 

A very effective way to keep your intention alive and up-front for the year is to share it with others who support our wellbeing and growth. Sometimes though, we find that those who are closest to us are not on the same wavelength. While this can be discouraging and challenging, please do not let it stop you from progressing on your own path. 

The great thing about social media (despite its many downsides) is that we can find virtual communities of like minded people. If we use social media in an intentional way, it can be a great way to connect with others on the journey. You may find that virtual communities are incredibly generous and supportive when you reach out, share and are authentic. ...

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Operationalize your intention (DW#536)

A huge thank you to all of you who showed up and bravely shared your intentions on social media. 

Grateful, shining, patience, forgiving, love, joyful, mindful, authentic, honest, helpful, proactive, consistent, peace, positivity, kindness, calm, vastness. These are just some of the inspiring intentions set by our fellow seekers and the Daily Wisdom tribe. You are awesome :) 

When we set our intentions, they are necessarily broad and abstract. That’s the point. We cannot micromanage how we will bring the intention to action on a daily basis when we are setting it.

However, once we have set the intention, we can dig a little deeper. This is the time to consider what it means to live our intention. 

So let’s reflect on the following questions:
·     If I was living my intention in the various domains of my life (health, work, relationships for example) how would I be behaving? What would I be doing differently?
...

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Challenging Cognitive Distortions Summary (DW#520)

Here are the 10 ways to challenge cognitive distortions that we have been exploring over the past few weeks. (and here is the link to catch up on any that you may have missed)

1)    Clear weeds from the garden of your mind [DW#508]
2)    Separate facts from interpretations [DW#509]
3)    Be an observer and develop a practice of thought watching. [DW#510 and DW#517]
4)    Explore what happened and what did you make it mean? [DW#511]
5)    Ask yourself if your interpretations are helpful. [DW#512]
6)    Come up with more helpful interpretations. [DW #513 & DW#514]]
7)    Ask yourself what your wisest friend would advice you in this situation?  [DW#515]
8)    Take the advice that you would give to a dear friend [DW#516]
9)    Develop and use a list of questions to challenge...

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Are you willing to choose happiness? (DW#519)

People who are successful and happy in this world have as many negative thoughts as you and I do. Really. 

The difference is that they find ways to remind themselves to focus on the narrative that they want to live rather than focusing on the mental chatter in their heads. 

Because if we continue to believe every thought that we have, and if our thoughts continue to be negative, it will be very challenging to live a life of positivity, purpose or peace. 
What we allow to settle in our minds and what we focus on will surely become our reality. 

So how about focusing on the narrative that we want to live? How about becoming aware of where our attention is, and being intentional about directing it where we want it to be? 

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