Peaceful Simplicity

Whatever the tasks, do them slowly
with ease,
in mindfulness,
so not do any tasks with the goal
of getting them over with.
Resolve to each job in a relaxed way,
with all your attention.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master

In our daily lives, we often rush through tasks, trying to get them done, trying to finish as much as we can each day, speeding along in our cars to our next destination, rushing to do what we need to do there, and then leaving so that we can speed to our next destination.

Unfortunately, it’s often not until we get to our final destination that we realize what madness this all is.

At the end of the day, we’re often exhausted and stressed out from the grind and the chaos and the busy-ness of the day. We don’t have time for what’s important to us, for what we really want to be doing, for spending time with loved ones, for doing things we’re passionate about.

And yet, it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible to live a simpler life, one where you enjoy each activity, where you are present in everything (or most things) you do, where you are content rather than rushing to finish things.

If that appeals to you, let’s take a look at some suggestions for living a simple, peaceful, content life:[Continue Reading…]

5% More Happiness

happinesscoupleSometimes one question can dramatically improve your life and relationships.

It usually boils down to what you focus on.

Far too often we only see and ruminate on what’s missing or what’s wrong.

This question comes at it from the other direction.

The format is easy, simply complete this sentence.

To bring 5% more happiness to my relationships…

If you’d like to get even more from this exercise, journal on this as well, or discuss this with your spouse, family, and friends.

(photo source)


Whatever you focus on, grows.

So how much time and energy do you spend focused on your expectations?

A good working definition of expectations is planned disappointments. And expectations are directly correlated with happiness, or more aptly, unhappiness.

When what we expect to happen does not happen, we are disappointed and we suffer pain at some level.

The greater the expectation, the greater the pain.

Ironically, we are also likely to be unhappy even when our expectations ARE met!

I shall explain.

We are most grateful for the good things that come our way that we did not expect to happen.[Continue Reading…]

Announcing the Sexy Marriage Radio Getaway

smr-logoIf you’ve been around Simple Marriage for a while hopefully you already know about Sexy Marriage Radio. A weekly show that airs every Wednesday.

Over the past three years I’ve been blown away at the positive emails and feedback we regularly receive about our show. I’m grateful that we are invited into your lives and marriage on a weekly basis.

Now we are offering up something a little more in-depth, and off-line.

The Sexy Marriage Radio Getaway!

September 17-20, 2015, at the Dallas/Ft. Worth Marriott Solana – consider this your personal invitation to join Shannon and I for a four day getaway.

Click here to hear more.

I hope you can join us! It will be a great 4 days together.

Enjoy The Strawberry

strawberryThe meaning of living fully in the present moment, neither retreating to the past nor anticipating the future, is wonderfully illustrated by a Zen parable about a monk being pursued by a ferocious tiger.

The monk raced to the edge of a cliff, glanced back, and saw the growling tiger about to spring. The monk spotted a vine dangling over the edge of the cliff. He grabbed it and began shinnying down the side of the cliff out of the clutches of the tiger.

Whew! Narrow escape.

The monk then looked down and saw a quarry of jagged rocks five hundred feet below. He looked up and saw the tiger poised atop the cliff with bared claws. Just then, two mice began to nibble at the vine.

What to do?

The monk saw a strawberry within arm’s reach, growing out of the face of the cliff.

He plucked it, ate it, and exclaimed, “Yum! That’s the best strawberry I’ve ever tasted in my entire life.”

If he had been preoccupied with the rock below (the future) or the tiger above (the past), he would have missed the strawberry in the present moment.

Life is best when you do not focus on the tigers of the past or the jagged rocks of the future but only on the strawberry that comes in the here and now.

(photo source)
Adapted from Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

The Elusive Happiness Problem

happinessIn October of 2006 I finished writing and defending my Dissertation, which was the final step in completing my Ph.D. in Family Therapy.

This was a huge milestone. One that began six years earlier when I decided to begin graduate school.

Completing school was something I looked forward to for years. It required a lot of sacrifice along the way, both personally and from my family. But when I walked out of the room as Dr. Allan, I was ecstatic.

It was such a big deal that when I finished, we threw a party that lasted two days. All kinds of friends and family joined in the celebration. After everything was over, I was sitting with my wife a couple of nights later and without warning, the bliss that came from attaining what I had worked so hard for, disappeared.

I had always believed that when you attain something you work hard for you’d be happy. That it would somehow alleviate an emptiness inside.[Continue Reading…]