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Tools for Attention (And a Happier Relationship)

Welcome back!  To bring you up to speed, here’s what you’ve missed.  A HAPPY WIFE = HAPPY LIFE.  When do you make your wife happy?  ALL THE TIME!  When you do, she multiplies that happiness and gives it back to you ten-fold.  So the question then becomes, ‘How do you make your wife happy?’  Attention, Affection, and Appreciation.  So far, we’ve covered the tools for Attention, so you haven’t missed much.  But it’s best to start from the beginning because each blogs builds upon the last.

During my many interviews and counseling sessions with couples over the last decade, we discovered that part of what makes your wife happy is ‘Undivided Attention’.  That means, no cell phones, ipads, computers, tv’s etc.  It means sitting close to her, facing her, arms and legs uncrossed, while maintaining eye contact.  When you do this, you are sending the message that this is the most important place for you to be at that moment – that what she has to say is important to you.  You are telling her that SHE is the most important person to you.  This makes her happy.

In the previous blog we introduced an exercise for Twenty Minutes of Attention.  These twenty minutes belong to your wife, for whatever she wants.  She can talk to you about her day (This is where you ‘Assume The Position’ and provide ‘Undivided Attention’), she can ask for help with the kids, household work, run a bath for her, etc.  Whatever she wants.  If she wants nothing, we call that a ‘free pass.’  Some couples do this the first twenty minutes when both spouses/partners are through the front door.  Others complete the exercise during the first twenty minutes after the children are asleep.  Choose a time that works for you and stick to it.  Every day.  It is an opportunity for the two of you to connect.  This time you offer her tells her that she is #1 on your list.  This is how you make her happy.  HAPPY WIFE = HAPPY LIFE.

The third tool for Attention involves taking your wife’s call at work.  Her call is your most important call of the day.  You must take her call.  Of course there are some exceptions when you cannot take her call.  Rabbi Pamensky calls these, ‘brain surgery or open skull moments’.  During these metaphoric moments, you cannot take her call.  But aside from these situations, you must take her call.  When you don’t, you are telling her that she is not the most important person to you.  We know everyone is busy throughout the day.  Even if you pick up the phone to say, “Hi.  I love you.  I’m in a very important meeting right.  Would it be okay to call you back?”  I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of person I would want to work with.  When you take her call, you are sending her the message that she is more important to you than work.  HAPPY WIFE = HAPPY LIFE.

We’ve now completed the tools for Attention.  It’s time to put them into practice.  Everyday going forward.  Find your twenty minutes with your spouse/partner, ‘Assume The Position’, and provide her ‘Undivided Attention’.  Try it as an experiment for one week, just to see what happens.  Don’t trust me.  Ask your wife/partner if this is something that would make her happy.  Next week we’ll introduce tools for Affection.  Have a great week, folks!

Lots of love!

By Jaime Saibil, Psychotherapist

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