Happy Thanksgiving From Simple Marriage

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Pitfalls Of We Speak

intimacyIn the 1940s a relatively unknown psychiatrist named Helmuth Kaiser wrote about a figure skating performance by identical twins he witnessed as a young boy. It wasn’t the impeccably choreographed performance that caught his attention, it was the mesmerized crowd’s reaction.

He also noted that synchronized swimming teams, high-kick chorus lines, and precision military teams produced this same effect. Kaiser intuited that there was something about the unison involved in these performances that stirred the crowds.

More recently, the rapid spread of the Irish dancing phenomenon Riverdance confirms Kaiser’s discovery.

What captured the crowd was an illusion, a fantasy.

A fantasy of two (or more) bodies appearing to be controlled by a single mind. Where separate identities were given up to become part of a larger oneness. He called this a fusion fantasy.

As married individuals, we fall victim to the fusion fantasy everyday. The “two shall become one” belief creates much – if not most – of the marital discord couples face today.

The illusion that a good marriage being like tightly choreographed figure skaters is impossible to live. [Read more…]

The Hamper Test

hamperHow big is your closet?

My hunch … regardless how big a closet you have, it’s full!

Now answer this: What percentage of your wardrobe do you actually wear?

I came across a statement from a closet expert (someone who knows closets, not someone hiding the fact they’re an expert) who told the Wall Street Journal that most people only wear 20% of their wardrobes.

What if you could have a wardrobe where most everything is loved and worn regularly.

One idea that will help you work towards this reality is to do the Hamper Test.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Determine your normal interval between laundry loads. Could be five days, a week, or even two. If you are someone who does laundry often, consider making your interval long for a while. It’s also okay if your laundry interval is connected to someone else’s, like a spouse and/or kids; just determine your combined laundry interval.
  2. When you do laundry, look at the clothes not in the hamper (or laundry bag)–the clothes that are not in active rotation.
  3. Get rid of at least one item that didn’t make it into the hamper per laundry interval.
  4. Repeat until most of your clothes are in the hamper at the end of a laundry interval (some prudent reserve of unused, but wearable clothes can be forgiven).

A couple of more notes:

  • Be aware of seasonal clothing with this test. In other words, don’t ditch your shorts because they didn’t make it into the hamper in December. But do subject shorts to test in August (make appropriate hemispheric/seasonal adjustments). Actually, this test should be done for every season, i.e. conduct test in summer, then do separate test in winter.
  • Clothes that are either infrequently or dry-cleaned won’t exactly fit into the Hamper Test. Just be honest about how often these things are worn.
  • You can make some special clothes exempt: Formal wear and specialty clothes (ski pants, cycling shorts when not in season), for example. But do not abuse this exemption. If you haven’t worn that tux in the last twenty years, there’s a chance you won’t wear it in the next twenty. And that old prom dress/bridesmaids dress/graduation outfit likely isn’t going to be worn anytime soon again.

Even people who think they have pretty pared down wardrobes (like me) can find dozens of things to give away: t-shirts at the bottom of the t-shirt stack, that sweater that’s really warm but only possibly worn one day a year here in Texas, and so on.

Give it a try and see what you discover.

Discovered @ LifeEdited
(photo source)

Abundance vs Deprivation

abundanceWhen it comes to how you view this world, if you’re like many people, you fall into one of two categories.

People who don’t believe they will ever get any of the goodness in life.

Or, people who hold onto hope that maybe someday, they will get some goodness, yet have no real clue how to make it happen.

Both of these groups live in fear that when something good does happen to them, it will only be a matter of time until the other shoe falls and it all goes away.

These views of self and the world are a direct result of a life paradigm developed early in life.

If your childhood needs were not met in a timely, judicious manner, you came to believe that the world wasn’t a predictable or abundant place. You probably saw the things you needed most (love, attention, affection, food, material things) as something in short supply.

These experiences created a view of the world called deprivation thinking. [Read more…]

Sleep your way to a better marriage

Sleep has lost respect in our society.

Gone are the days of our days being regulated solely by the sun. Now we are routinely charging through our days with lights all around us until we fall into bed and douse all light. The problem with most of our nightly routines – it dramatically affects our sleep. And when our sleep is affected, everything else in our life is as well.

Before we go any further, let’s answer the question I know you’re wondering, “How much sleep do you need each night?”

First, some foundation. Research has found that we sleep in 90 minute cycles and each cycle has a progression from level 1 to level 5 sleep. Level 1 is actually more like rest or relaxation (you may not actually be asleep but you are resting). Level 5 is the REM sleep (which is the most important type of sleep).

In each sleep cycle you will progress from lighter sleep to deeper sleep, then back up again. This process is repeated with each 90 minute cycle, only deeper each time. So the later cycles of sleep will get more REM sleep each time.

The reason REM sleep is so important – it cleans the brain. REM sleep to the brain is the same the defragmentation of a computer’s hard drive. The more REM sleep you get, the better memory, performance, alertness, etc. you will experience.

So, to answer the previous question: since we sleep in 90 minute cycles, the optimum number of cycles each night … [Read more…]

The Art of Contentment

growingA majority of struggle in married life is in our head.

We wonder why we can’t find time to connect with loved ones because we’re caught up in our to do lists, or struggling with an inadequacy, or striving to create a life like we see other’s living in their Facebook feed.

This struggle is normal … as it is part of the process of becoming. It’s the path to creating a more solid, flexible self. Someone who knows who they are and is comfortable in their own skin.

A great step forward in this process is to learn the art of contentment.

Contentment is not easy – it’s something that must be developed and learned over time. It’s actually more like a lifelong process of developing.

The best formula for creating contentment – [Read more…]