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Be intentional about goodbyes (DW#553)

Today's marriage hack requires a time investment of 2 minutes per day x 5 working days (10 minutes per week)

The task: To learn one thing that will be happening in your spouse’s life that day before you say goodbye. Ask open-ended questions about the scheduled happenings that day. 

Do they have a significant appointment that day? What are they looking forward to? Concerned about? 

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Hack your marriage in 6 hours (DW#552)

One of the most solid evidence based programs for enriching a marriage or turning it around are the Gottman marriage programs. If couples agree to taking part in the research for the institute, they are followed after taking the program to see what if any changes they have implemented and maintained in the relationship after taking the program. 

The researchers have found something rather interesting: the couples who are able to transform their relationships and create lasting change do not do anything dramatic or earth shattering. In fact, they spend few a minutes a day (an average of six extra hours a week) on nurturing their relationships through simple but significant practices and rituals. And the way these couples divide these six hours follows a predictable pattern. 

So, are you ready to invest these magic six hours a week? (You may be currently spending more time than that engaging in conflict . . .)

You may be pleasantly surprised to learn how easy these practices...

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Be a friendly observer (DW#551)

Eli Finkel, a researcher at Northwestern University is the one who popularized the term marriage hack in his popular TED talk which is based on his book The All or Nothing Marriage

Here is a summary of his most significant research finding about happy couples: Over the period of a year, couples in a study were asked to think about their disagreements from a third-person perspective—from the perspective of a neutral party who wanted the best for all involved. So they practiced viewing the conflict from an objective perspective, without their own emotions involved. The study found that these couples were more likely to be satisfied in their marriage than the couples who could only see their own side during conflict. 

What can we learn from this?
1)    It does not mean that these couples did not disagree or fight.
2)    It shows that they practiced some key aspects of emotional intelligence:

a.   ...
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Think: That’s just like them! (DW#549)

Today’s marriage hack is the flip side of yesterday’s.

Smart couples have a particular way of thinking about their spouses when they do something which is positive or pleasing. 

They believe that this quality is "just like them". That it is permanent and a part of their true character. 

For example:
My wife helped me pack for my trip: that is just like her. Always making sure that I have everything that I need when I am travelling. 
My husband did the math homework with my son yesterday. That is so like him. He is happy to do whatever it takes to help his children succeed at school. 
My husband got up early to shovel the snow this morning. He is always concerned that we have a clear driveway for when we leave for work and school. He really cares about our family’s safety. 
My wife called my family over for Eid just like she does every year. She goes out of her way to make sure that the family gets together and is welcomed into our home. She is...

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Yield to win (DW#546)

Today’s marriage hack is especially important for husbands (did you think that I would only focus on the wives?!).

A disclaimer: to be honest, this is not really a hack – in that it is not a simple and quirky thing that you can do – but it is really really important.

Dr. Gottman believes that one of the keys to a successful marriage is the emotional intelligence of husbands. How does this emotional intelligence show up in marriage? It is when men accept their wives’ influence in small and big matters.

In a long-term study of 130 newlywed couples, Dr. Gottman and his colleagues discovered that men who allow their wives to influence them have happier marriages and are less likely to divorce. Women, it seems, are better at accepting influence and yielding to advice than men and even in unhappy relationships, women are already doing this. In unhappy marriages, Gottman found that men tend to withdraw from conflict, stonewall their spouses and...

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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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Apply the stranger standard (DW#541)

This week, let’s continue talking about marriage hacks – shortcuts or easy ways to make our relationships better. Attitudes and behaviours that don’t take much time or effort but may have a major impact. 

Today’s hack is about applying the stranger standard at home. 

What is the stranger standard? It is the standard of behaviour that we use with strangers and outsiders. The minimum level of courtesy, respect and goodwill with which we deal with the world in general. 

Sometimes we take our closest relationships so much for granted that we "use up" our best self for strangers, acquaintances and others who don’t really matter that much. We are able to be respectful and kind to those who we come across for short periods. We use up our good will and bring home only what is left over. The tiredness, the grouchiness and the frustrations. 

The stranger standard hack means that you are at least as respectful and courteous inside...

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A list of what you love (DW#539)

The first two marriage hacks we will explore consist of making lists. 
Today’s list is all about what you love about your spouse. 

Your list can include qualities and characteristics that you love and admire in your spouse. It can also include all of the moments in your relationship that confirmed for you that you wanted to be married to this person. It can include funny things and sad things and all the happy memories that you have, even if they are really really tiny. 
This is your list so feel free to put anything on there that is meaningful to you even if they would sound silly or meaningless to someone else. These are reminders for you of why you chose this person and why you want to keep choosing this person.

The way you met and got together. What about them or their personality first attracted you?
How they supported you in challenging times
The way they looked at you at a particular time
How they reacted at the birth of your first baby
A small kindness that they...

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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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