How to practice empathy in relationships and at work: 6 ways

In the holiday season, and in general, it would be great to figure out how to see the world from another person’s perspective. This can help us become aware of the situations of others, which in turn can help us practice generosity. In situations with our families, romantic partners, or even work colleagues, how can we practice empathy?

How to Debate the Family Idiot — 11 Tips for Surviving Holiday Politics

We all experience a crushing dilemma: do I dare engage with an ideologically-blinded family member, or do I abstain? Save the world or save the meal? If disinterested, how do we forgo a political skirmish? If involved, how do we maintain our poise? And if cornered and depleted, how do we escape? These 11 tips can help...

4 ways to thank your loved one

Contempt is the biggest predictor of divorce, according to relationship experts John and Julie Gottman. Also according to the Gottmans’ long-term research on “master couples” who handle relationship stress and conflict in stride and remain happy, one behavior is the “antidote” to contempt: gratitude. But how do we get into the groove of sharing gratitude with our loved one when we may have never consistently done it before?

The difficulty of improving gender roles in Japan (Jun, Part 2)

In Part 1 of this interview, we discussed how the Japanese economy has downshifted, but that assumptions about family structure and job security appear to not yet have adapted. Here, we explore what specific challenges married couples face now, and what are the implications for manhood in Japan. Please read to the end of this brief article for reflection exercises you can try.

The 4 worst relationship behaviors to avoid, based on science

Fighting with our loved ones can feel terrifying, and it’s easy – if we don’t know what we’re doing – to get trapped in bad habits that lead to the deterioration of our marriage or long-term relationship. Fortunately, as we discussed earlier, conflict is natural and to be expected. However, there are four behaviors to avoid when in conflict, according to the Gottmans’ copious research.

How economic changes can influence gender roles (Jun, Part 1)

I recently interviewed a Japanese man, Jun, who lives and works in Tokyo, about his observations on Japanese culture and shifting gender roles. If you live in the US and are wondering how his perspective could be at all relevant to your own life, then read on. He has a unique perspective in that he went to college in the US (only about 1% of Japanese college students do this), then returned to Japan to work for a multi-national company. One of his hobbies is reading and reflecting on current events and Japan’s history. In this first installment, we explore how economic, political, and cultural factors can influence gender roles at home and work. If you’ve ever felt alienated from or confused by the way your parents raised you, then read on for some fruitful discussion questions that can help deepen your understanding of yourself, your parents, and your own particular social and historical context.

Keeping a marriage together, based on long-term research of couples

6 min read | "The greatest gift a couple can give their baby is a loving relationship, because that relationship nourishes Baby’s development. The stronger the connection between parents, the healthier the child can grow, both emotionally and intellectually." (p.9) Stress and tension can build in our long-term romantic relationships, even despite our best intentions. Perhaps you’re a few years into your relationship, and already feeling doubt, irritation, or even anger on a regular basis. Ironically, one of the most joyous moments of our lives – having a child – can exacerbate negative feelings in a relationship (see our recent article for new Dads). The good news is you can learn coping and relationship-building skills, and they apply whether you have kids or not.

Advice for men from a successful, happily-married man (Rob Jones)

Here’s a man we need to hear more about: happily married for forty years, still engaged in his kids’ lives, and able to balance work with exercise, family, and community. In our interview, he shares how he and his wife overcame a marital crisis, how he learned to cultivate balance and time for reflection, and how he transformed a potential career disaster into the mentoring opportunity of a lifetime. Rob is sixty years old and lives in Colorado. He and his wife Martha have three adult sons. Please read to the end for a summary of life lessons based on the interview, and resources for further learning and practice you can try yourself. Please leave us a comment and share this with your friends.

8 ways for men and their sons to heal

A pervasive problem today seems to be that American men have little or no connection with their fathers. The reasons may be physical or structural – absentee fathers, divorced fathers who don’t share custody – or emotional, in that the fathers were around during their kids’ childhoods, but were emotional ghosts. But what to do about it?

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