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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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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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Look up (DW#543)

Imagine you are at work. You are busy answering emails or preparing a presentation. And your boss or your most important client walks in and starts talking to you. 

What do you do? Do you continue working on what you were doing and give them perfunctory nods and hmm, uhmms without even bothering to acknowledge their presence in the room? (and how do you think your career will fare if you did that?)


Or do you stop what you are doing, look up and give them your full attention? If you recognize that your relationship with them is more important than that email, or text message, you will likely do the later. 

Now how about your spouse? When they walk into the room, do you look up from your phone and give them your attention? Do you listen to what they have to say before giving them the nod and the hmms and the ahas? 

If not, why not? 

You cannot improve something without giving it some attention. You really cannot. So please start paying attention. And look up from your...

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Get more sleep (DW#542)

If you are sleep deprived like a lot of us these days, you know that the world and everything in it (including your spouse!) looks much better after a good night’s sleep. On the other hand, a lack of sleep can leave us feeling irritable and wanting to lash out at even minor annoyances. 

A study from Ohio State University confirmed this. It found that couples who routinely slept less than seven hours were more likely to fight in destructive ways and with overt hostility. Sleeping more did not get eliminate conflict, of course. But those couples who managed to get more rest bickered with more humor and kindness and with less hostility. 

So an easy way to improve your family relationships is to improve your self care routines, which include sleep and exercise. If you take care of yourself, you are able to show up as your best self at home. 

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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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Here’s how to hack your marriage (DW#538)

Do you know what a "hack" is? 

The way it is currently used, it means an easy solution or a work-around to a potentially challenging situation. A shortcut. It is a way to do or to improve something without too much effort. The term was initially used in technology to find quicker solutions with less steps instead of longer procedures to do particular things on computers. Popular culture adapted this term for all kinds of workarounds or shortcuts calling them "life hacks" or just "hacks". 

A more enlightened way to look at such solutions is to call them wise effort. Getting the most value for your time and effort. Doings small things that get big results. Kind of what Daily Wisdom is all about. 

So, over the next few days, let’s discuss some "marriage hacks" – simple (and sometimes quirky) ways to improve your marriage – rituals and practices that take only a short amount of time and effort but have potentially significant results. 

Before we...

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Some ideas for intentions (DW#535)

If you are having trouble coming up with your intention for the year, here are some words to get you thinking. This is not an exhaustive list of course. 

Just read it over once and then let your inner wisdom come up with an intention that speaks to you at this particular time in your life. 

Compassion, Delight, Generosity, Effortlessness, Wealth, Gratitude, Abundance, Creativity, Willingness, Change, Growth, Freedom, Mastery, Truth, Authenticity, Consistency, Kindness Health Presence Acceptance Courage Confidence Self-Love, Action, Forgiveness, Forgive Release, Trust, Knowing, Patience, Friendship, Fun, Grace, Laughter, Love, Expansion, Exploration, Adventure, Openness, Discipline, Awe, Awareness, Risk, Gentleness, Choice, Spirit, Prayerfulness, Power, Allow, Artfulness, Attention, Beauty, Joy, Focus, Ritual, Heal, Order, Clarity, Pioneer, Peace, Laziness, Deliberateness, Commitment, Savor, Integrity, Listen. 

Once you do come up with an intention, please consider...

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Express your intention in one word (DW#533)

The thing with setting intentions is that they need to be short and simple. If we are writing paragraphs (or pages!) about our intention, it’s a sign that we are over-complicating things. 

So go ahead and set an intention to set an intention! Once you open to the possibility, your one word intention will come to you. And not necessarily when you are trying hard to think of the "perfect" one. 

And once your intention does become clear to you, it can act as a guiding north star for you, directing your actions and behaviours. 

This does not mean that you will always act according to your intention. But it does mean that whenever you do stray away from it, you can recommit in the moment and reconnect with your intention, adjusting your behavior accordingly. 

For example, if my intention is to relate with honesty (or just "honesty" or "authenticity" or "vulnerability") and I am tempted to be less than this, as soon as I become aware of it, I...

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What’s your intention? (DW#532)

For some people, setting specific goals can feel too limiting. This can be especially so if you are in a time in your life when you want to be open to new possibilities or if you are going through a period of uncertainty, transition, change and discovery. At times like this, setting goals (at least in some domains of our life) can feel overwhelming or simply not do-able. 

At times like this, instead of setting specific goals, consider setting an intention for how you are going to show up in your life this year. 

You might be asking: What exactly is the difference between goals and intentions?

To put it briefly, while a goal is a desired outcome in the future, an intention is about how we commit to showing up in our life everyday and in every moment, regardless of what is happening around us. 

It is a guiding principle or value that we act from, and it is very much based in the present moment (as opposed to the future)
So while a goal might be to...

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