Dove with Branch
March 09, 2009 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk

Dear Peacemaker,


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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, If my husband is going to have a loving relationship with me he must listen to my needs. If we wives need our husbands to listen to our problems and lend a sympathetic ear they should be willing to do that. If they don't then we are just going to go elsewhere to find someone to listen. All too often women end up having an affair because they are attracted to another man who will listen to them. If men desire a good relationship with their wives they need to listen. - Sharmane in CA

Dear Sharmane, Yes it would be the wise thing for a husband to lend a sympathetic ear. This is not a good reason for the wife to look elsewhere. If that is the biggest problem with a marriage it can be easily solved without messing up the marriage. Many marriages end in divorce due to lack of skill in finding a way to get the support a person is seeking from their partner. Once a marriage partner gets angry with the other partner they stop giving and receiving love and their marriage falls apart. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My husband thinks he is the boss in our relationship. How can I have a satisfactory relationship with a husband who decides he is the boss and tells me what to do? - Lois in WA

Dear Lois, By deciding not to pay any attention to him, by not listening to him, by not asking for his advise, or by respecting his advise and considering it among other possibilities. You have many choices in how you can respond to his habit of giving advice. If you wish to be an equal in a relationship then you will need to find a way to not be controlled by your partner. Often our partners take control because we have allowed it to happen. - 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

We tend to look with great favor and warmness on philanthropists who give to help causes that provide for the poor and the public good. But let us take a second look at this. We are expecting those who have more to take care of the needs of those who have less. Shouldn't we as a society all be in this together to take care of our common needs? There seems to be something degrading and demeaning about a concept that is based on the inequality of the rich tending to the poor.

We should not depend on the rich to provide for our needs out of the goodness of their hearts. When we do, we become beholden to them. The needs of society should be met out of the common funds of all. We may need to increase taxes in order to meet the needs of the people, but the needs should be met.

We are supposedly a society based on equality. We would be better served by creating equality in income as much as possible. Then taxing according to our ability to pay in order to provide for our needs, rather than meeting them through charity. When the need is appropriate we all should support it. Personal charity should be given only when someone has a personal desire to do more than what we as society feel the need for. In the meantime, I am thankful that those who have more are willing to provide more for the special needs of society.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Once we habituate behavior, we find it is difficult to change. Once we create or accept responses based on our negative emotions, we often hold onto them and have difficulty giving them up. Once behavior becomes habitual, avoiding it becomes a challenge - even when we know it's the right thing to do. Acting in the way we always have will obviously feel "natural" to us. But when we commit to and make a plan for changing that behavior, so that a new positive way of responding can take its place, that new behavior will soon become "natural."

With hard work and practice, we can change our behavior. Forcefully, vigorously, and powerfully work at creating better thinking, healthier feelings, and more productive actions. Do this now, not later. For most people, it won't take very long to no longer feel negative about many things. But keep working on change, you will always continue to improve, even if you never become absolutely perfect at responding in the desired way. And remember that increasing the effort you put into changing will shorten the time it takes you to do so.

Rehearsing a desired behavior is almost as good as doing the real thing. By repeating an action again and again, you create a new path in your brain and use it until the new response becomes habitual. Scientists refer to this as creating a new neural path. In this sense the brain doesn't know the difference between "real" and "rehearsed" behavior. The process is similar to that of memorizing a poem or improving on your golf swing. The more times you practice (or rehearse) the poem, the swing, or the positive response, the closer you get to that behavior becoming automatic.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about something that always upsets you. Determine the belief you have that makes you feel that way.

Tuesday: Create a new belief that will allow you to no longer be upset when the same event happens.

Wednesday: Rehearse, practice and establish this new belief until it becomes your natural response.

Thursday: Think about someone whose behavior frequently upsets you. Determine the belief you have that makes you feel that way.

Friday: Develop a new way of thinking about that person's behavior so that it will no longer upset you.

Saturday: Rehearse, practice and establish this new belief until it becomes your natural response.

Sunday: Resolve that whenever you become upset that you will search for the reason and then change the belief that is causing you to feel upset.

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:

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