Dove with Branch
January 15, 2007 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
Hello! - Dean Van Leuven

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, We have three lovely children. They are very active in school activities. My wife is busy taking them to practice and doing all the other things necessary to support their activities. The problem is that she says she is so busy with this that she never has time to do the housekeeping. We entertain guests at home often because of my business and we need our home to look nice. How can I make her realize the importance of this so that she has the house looking nice when company arrives? – Frustrated Husband

Dear Frustrated Husband, First of all you are not the boss you shouldn’t be making your wife understand anything. You have a need for a clean house. There are five of you who can each clean all or part of it. You have many solutions besides requiring your wife to do it. I am sure she already understands your need for a clean house. I suggest you find a positive way for her to be able to accomplish this or find another way to get it done. Anyone can clean the house only your wife is available to be a loving mother. – the Dean

Dear Dean, My wife doesn’t like to cook. I spend a hard day at the office. When I get home I need a warm meal but I seldom get it. She is always busy with the children or has been to some club meeting all day and is tired. How can I get her to prepare a decent meal? – Harold in Toledo

Dear Harold, Perhaps you can’t. It is not her job to prepare a hot meal for you unless she has agreed that it is her job. Did she agree to be the cook, or do you just expect it because that is what women do? If she agreed to it find out how you can be supportive. If she didn’t agree to be the cook then find out how you can have a hot meal, or eat a cold one. This is obviously a part of the relationship that is causing a problem. Perhaps it is as simple as your wife resenting you being the boss. It is way past time to sit down together and find a solution that will fulfill the desires of both of you. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: P.O. Box 535, Elmira, OR 97437, or visit to submit by e-mail.

Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
  Globe Magnify Glass

One of the problems I see is that we continually buy into our own solutions to problems. We see a problem – run it through our belief system – collect the facts we think we need to make a decision and then go with it. The problem is that once we have made the decision we tend to accept it in our minds as the only “right answer.” We put all of our efforts into implementing it, and into defending it whenever it is questioned by others. We often make ineffective decisions simply because we haven’t considered all the facts; or because things don’t work the way we think they will.

What if we made the solutions we decide on only tentative? What if the final test was always, “how is this working?” When we give up the emotional attachment to our belief that we know what the right answer is we focus on finding the best answer. Let’s trade the need for the feeling that we are doing the right thing for the need to find the best solution.

This will produce better results for us and others around us. It will greatly reduce the emotional conflict in our life. It can also produce a great sense of satisfaction to know that we are always open to finding the best answer, and that we have always given it our best. A sense of knowing we have the "right" answer often leads to stress because of the perceived need to defend our answer. A sense of knowing we are searching for the best answer leads to reduction of stress because are no longer resisting alternatives.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Never think that you have the right to decide for your partner what is right or what they should do. This means you are attempting to assume a position of power over them. If you assume that power, your relationship is no longer an equal one. Also the other person usually will not willingly accept your control. They are likely to become angry and unhappy with the relationship in some way.

Intimacy with your mate requires that you respect and appreciate them for the person that they are. If you do, it will be easier to deepen your friendship and love. If you don’t respect your partner, focus on learning to respect them, because it is essential to the relationship.

Focus your attention on the things that make your mate special and that attracted you to them initially. Always, always appreciate that. Often, and with enthusiasm, tell your mate how much you love and appreciate them. Doing this can prevent and dissolve a lot of anger.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about the things in your relationship that you and your spouse disagree about.

Tuesday: Think about the things that your spouse does that upsets you.

Wednesday: Think about the ways you try to control the relationship.

Thursday: Think about the ways your spouse tries to control the relationship.

Friday: Accept your spouse’s right to act differently than you would.

Saturday: Accept your spouse’s right to disagree with you.

Sunday: Discuss your and your spouse’s expectations and resolve differences.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of A Peaceful New World and many other books dealing with quality of life issues. Contact him on the web at:

Additional Notes

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Dean Of Peace | P.O. Box 535 | Elmira | OR | 97437