Monthly Archives: June 2020

How To Make Your Wife Happy

During my years of relationship coaching, I can’t tell you how many men have said something like this to me: “If only I had a bullet point list of what to do to make her happy”.

In this brief post, I’ll give you just that, a bullet list with 6 points for what to do to make your wife or partner happy. Of course, you have to actually DO it to find out if it works, and not just once, but as an ongoing practice of relating.

With no further ado, we’re jumping right in.

#1 Engage in the relationship.

We men have a tendency to think that once we’ve gotten into a relationship, or once we’ve gotten married, we’re done. In the back our minds, we say, “Mission accomplished”, and give our attention to the next accomplishment. Nothing could be further from the truth, and the attitude of “I’m done” is responsible for countless love stories turning from sizzling hot to lukewarm to ice cold.

When there’s a kerfuffle, a conflict, or some sort of tension and upset, don’t back away or shut down. Instead, engage. Step in, even though your natural instinct might be to get the heck out of there. Engage and participate actively, both in the fun and sexy parts of the relationship, as well as the tedious or tense ones.

#2 Connect. Talk. Share.

One simple way to accomplish “connection” is to talk. Share about yourself, your day, how you feel, what you dream of, and what you’re afraid of. When she asks you how your day was or how you’re doing, answer in more than one word. To this day, I still sometimes have to remind myself of this, because it is so ingrained in me to just say, “Fine. Great. I’m good”, or another one-or-two syllable response.

It’s not that I’m trying to withhold information, it’s just that to my practical brain, “Fine” is a satisfying answer to “How are you doing?”

But it does not produce a sense of connection for my wife. Connection is produced by the back-and-forth passing of something, in this case words. It’s like throwing a baseball with a friend. Imagine you throw it to your friend, he catches it and then just keeps the ball. Boring game, right? To have a game, you have to keep throwing the ball between you. Same with connection and conversation with your wife. Catch the ball, then throw it back to her.

#3 Listen. Without taking stuff personally

The other side of talking and sharing is listening. Particularly, listening without taking her words personally. Granted, when she’s talking, your name might appear frequently in the content. When it does, don’t take it personally, and don’t jump to providing solutions to what you think her problem is.

If, for instance, she comes home after a long day at work, starts sharing about her challenging day, don’t jump to providing solutions that would make her feel better. Just let her talk and she’ll take herself home.

If during her share she says, “That guy at work is just like you …”, don’t jump in and defend yourself (or the guy at work). Don’t do anything, other than listen. The vast majority of times, she will sort out anything that needs sorting out and your listening helps her do that.

#4 Tell her she’s beautiful and special to you.

Not just with your words, with your actions too. For her to know that among all the people you could be in relationship with, you choose her to be your wife or partner, produces a tremendous sense of safety in her. It helps her relax, let her guard down, open up to you, and be with you.

Actually, this is great advice for anyone in relationship. Making your partner feel actively chosen basically confirms what our soul is longing to hear, and what our demons are always trying to convince us that we’re not.

#5 Give of yourself

When she asks you to do something with her or for her, either do it, or if you can’t or aren’t willing to do it, at least acknowledge that she asked or ask her questions about why she’s wanting you to do it. If you’re saying no to her, tell her what you would be willing to do, or when a better time is. Don’t just say no, ignore the request or turn away, because that will surely build a barrier between you.

Give your time and attention to her. Give your touch and adoration. Give your praise and encouragement. Not just for special occasions. Always. And especially when you’ve landed in a tense situation, or you haven’t been connecting much. Be the first to break the deadlock by giving of yourself.

#6 Hear her criticisms as a desire for more of you.

This relates to not taking her statements personally. Rather than arguing with the surface criticisms, respond to the deeper meaning of her communication. For instance, if she says, “We never do anything together! You never want to do anything with me!”, it’s easy to take it personally and want to defend yourself.

The deeper communication here is, “I miss you. I want to spend time with you. I love you. I want to be with you. I want more of you”. Those are good intentions and they basically tell you she loves you. If you’re skeptical about this interpretation, think about this way: If she didn’t give a shit, she wouldn’t even bother trying to get you to spend time with her! The logical conclusion, then, is that she cares about you.

There you have it, a short bullet list for how to make your wife happy. If you do these steps, there’s an excellent chance she’ll be really happy and think you’re a fabulous man for her. Don’t take my word for it, though. Try it out and see what happens. Show her this list and ask her about it.

And if you want to make her REALLY happy, take a small initiative that pertains directly to your relationship (per #1: Engage in the relationship).

Invite her to join you for our upcoming 90-minute mini-workshop, How To Stay In Love. It’s super easy, you do it from your couch or kitchen table. Takes the same time as a standard movie, so you still have your whole weekend.

Some of what you will learn and experience:

• Deep connection with your partner
• Insight into what has you feel love, loving, and loved
• Ideas for how to recreate that in-love feeling
• A powerful process for finding love in anger
• Concrete practices for how to stay in love

More info and register: https://loveworksforyou.com/how-to-stay-in-love 

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How To Make Your Husband Happy

How often do spouses wonder how to make their partner happy? Do you ever wonder how to make your husband happy? Does it sometimes seem that what you’re doing must not be working, because he doesn’t seem all that happy?

(Next week, we’ll publish a post about making your wife happy)

Making your husband happy is one of those instances that often seem difficult, but at its essence is quite simple. I’ll give you a brief 4-point list for how to make him happy. Don’t take my word for; try it out and see what happens. I use all four as a permanent part of my marriage and I have a very happy husband (editor’s note: Christian here, she’s telling the truth:-)

Without further ado, here we go:

#1 Tell him he’s a good man!

I have seen countless men burst into tears when they finally get to hear this from their wife/partner. Men are working so hard to make us happy and to do the right thing, so when they get to hear “You’re a good man”, it touches them deeply.

Men often have a very hard time believing their own worth, so it really helps when they can hear it from you, the person who’s opinion they care about the most.

#2 Give him points for effort.

Giving points for effort means to appreciate him for what he does do, instead of pointing out all the things he doesn’t do. It means to give appreciation even when he makes a gesture that doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. Give appreciation for trying.

Many men have a strong internal critic, so whenever they hear even a tiny bit of criticism from you, it’s as if it invalidates everything they did do, and they end up feeling inadequate and unappreciated.

The more you appreciate your husband for what he does do, the more it inspires him to want to do more, give more, because men are motivated by the reward of appreciation and the result of you being happy.

Appreciation is more effective than criticism, only 100% of the time!

#3 Respect his choices

How often does your husband do something you simply don’t get? Where you might be shaking your head?

It’s crucial to realize that everything he does makes sense from his point of view. There is a reason for everything he does, even if you don’t understand or approve of that reason.

At the very least, when he make a choice you don’t understand, get curious about his motivations, ask him about it instead of condemning it. You can even be his sparring partner and constructively challenge his choices and decisions, but make sure your challenge is delivered in that spirit, and doesn’t become a polished way to criticize.

When you respect his choices, he feels respected and will in turn have much higher regard for you.

#4 Share your physical affection and appreciation

When we lead our sex workshops, one of things that surprises and touches me every time is how poetic, loving and spiritual men become when they talk about what sex and physical affection gives them.

In stark contrast to the stereotype that men only want sex to “get off” or that they just want you for your body, they will describe how profoundly it touches and resets them when they get to share sex and touch with you.

So when we say yes to sex and touch, it fills them up in ways we might never understand. Plus, it feels good to us when we make love too; to get in our bodies and enjoy our sensual connection. Of course, this doesn’t mean you are somehow obligated, but say yes whenever you can. I do, and I appreciate it every time I do.

That’s it for now … if you take on these 4 simple steps you will definitely see results in terms of a happier husband.

Let me know how it goes for you.

<3 Sonika

PS. Here’s a chance for a deeper connection with your partner:

We all know how anger and hurt can take us out of love. And we all know how better it feels to be in love. So how do we stay in love? How can we get back to love when we get hurt or angry?

In this mini-workshop for couples, uncover what produces that “in-love” feeling, and discover how to get back to love, even when someone gets hurt or angry.

Some of what you will learn and experience:

  • Deep connection with your partner
  • Insight into what has you feel love, loving, loved
  • Ideas for how to recreate that in-love feeling
  • A powerful process for finding love in anger
  • Concrete practices for how to stay in love

Find out more here: https://loveworksforyou.com/how-to-stay-in-love/

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My Husband Doesn’t Value Me

If you have the experience that your husband/BF/partner doesn’t value you, you probably feel hurt, angry, sad, or all of them in combination.

Feeling unvalued impacts your own self esteem and spills over into the quality of your entire relationship, and you might be questioning yourself, the future of your relationship, and whether there’s something wrong with your partner, your relationship, or yourself.

Feeling unvalued by your partner can show up in a myriad of ways. Perhaps he …

– Doesn’t listen to you
– Doesn’t tell the truth
– Doesn’t prioritize you
– Gives you the silent treatment
– Withdraws
– Offers little or no connection and communication
– Gives romantic or sexual attention to other people
– Belittles you, uses demeaning comments
– Doesn’t spend time with you and/or your family
– Speaks poorly of you in public
– Ignores or doesn’t honor your boundaries
– Doesn’t include your opinions and concerns
– Offers little or no appreciation, affection, or loving gestures.

And that’s not an exhaustive list.

If this describes you and how you feel about your partner, what can you do?

Our first tendency when we’re not getting what we want in relationship, is to get the other person to change their behavior. In this case, you might find yourself criticizing and nagging at him way more than you like, in an attempt to get the message across that you want something to change.

When we’re unhappy with our partners, we often come at them with lists of rules for how they should behave. Whereas it’s perfectly understandable that you want his behavior to change, this approach will not give you what you want. Even if you’re 100% right about your complaints and all your friends agree with you. If that approach worked, all we needed to do to have perfect partners was to tell them exactly what they’re doing wrong and how they should behave, and we’d be done.

His part and your part

In any less-than-ideal relationship situation, there’s an element of co-creation. When you don’t feel valued by him, there’s his part in that and there’s your part in that.

We like to start with your part. Not because you’re the one who “needs” to change, or that you’re doing something wrong, simply because that’s the only place where you know you have some control and influence. As we all know, that’s not always the case with our partners.

You don’t have to share this with your partner (although you can if you so choose), but for starters, ask yourself:

  • What am I doing that’s contributing to this experience?
  • How can I call you, inspire you, to move better with me?

Granted, if you do your own part and he still doesn’t engage in a process of change and growth, you might very well find someone else to be in relationship with.

Take a stand for yourself

One of the first way to inspire him to value you more, is for you to value you more.

Take a stand for yourself. Cultivate a sense of yourself as a valuable, deserving person. One of Sonika’s most valuable personal lessons from being in relationship with an abusive partner, was for her to get out of her victim mindset and craft a mindset of power.

To do that practically, you can be clear about what you’re up for and what you’re not up for. “I’m available to talk about anything but I’m NOT available for being called names or yelled at”. “I’m available for so-and-so, but I’m not available for so-and-so” or “I’m willing to do so-and-so, and I’m not willing to do so-and-so” are good ways to communicate that.

Often, your part in a situation where you don’t feel your husband values you, is that you let it happen and don’t communicate clearly what you want, what you’re willing to do, and what you’re not willing to do, in good ways he can hear.

Takes up all your “mental real estate”

When relationships are strained, perhaps even for long periods of time, the negativity ends up taking up more and more of your “mental real estate”. It’s as if your entire field of vision is filled with all the places where he doesn’t value you, doesn’t respect you, and don’t care about you.

More often than not, there are places where he values and respects you. You just have to focus a bit on finding them.

So begin to look for where he does value you, even if it’s in small ways. Perhaps he brings you a coffee from Starbucks, makes a meal for you, picks up the kids on your day, or asks if you want to make love later on. All those are examples of him expressing that he values and cares about you. Maybe he does ask what you think sometimes. That’s an example of him respecting you.

When you find these instances, thank him for it. We call this approach “Providing what’s desired”, and it’s useful for both partners in relationship. Whenever you’re missing or desiring something, you start by providing it. You want more appreciation? make sure you don’t just rail on him to appreciate you more, but also offers him appreciation.

This is not to stroke the guy’s ego, but simply to use an approach that might work. Plus, it really helps your mental and emotional wellbeing when all your focus is not on what’s not working, and you deliberately notice where you have some of what you want.

He wants to be successful

When you feel unvalued by your partner, it’s easy to make the assumption that he doesn’t want to value you and simply doesn’t care. In our experience working with thousands of men and women, that’s pretty much never the case. Quite the contrary, men are desperate to be successful with you, they want nothing more than to win with you and to make you happy. And … they often have no clue how to accomplish that result. And when men can’t accomplish their result with you, they feel defeated and inadequate, which in turn makes them stop talking and stop trying. Which in turn has you feel unvalued. Bad cycle!

Sometimes you just have to coach and guide him for how you feel valued. If you assume, as we’re suggesting, that he wants to make you happy, you can offer feedback and guidance to him in the form of “appreciation sandwiches” (so named by a man in our workshops).

In fact, this is a great way to deliver feedback to anyone. If you want him to clean up after himself in the kitchen, instead of saying, “Why can’t you clean up after yourself; you’re like a child!” (nagging, criticism, and contempt), you might say, “I appreciate how focused you are getting back to work after dinner. Would you be willing to help clean the kitchen before you start working again? I really like working with you:-)“

In the same spirit of kind guidance, it’s useful to ask for what you want in a clear and specific way that supports him to give it to you. For example, if you say, “I just want you to connect with me!”, he might have no idea what “connect with me” actually entails. We know, to you it might so obvious as to require no explanation of any kind, but that’s not true for everyone. Men and women are different, and people are different. So you might say, “I love it when you take my hand and tell me you love me … would you be willing to do that?”

We also know you might think, “Well, that’s not very romantic when I have to ask for it!” To which we say, yes, it’s nice when we just get what we want, but would you rather ask clearly for something or get nothing?

Get Curious

Our final idea to beware of the tendency to think “he should know this already”, and instead to get curious. Inquire about his experience, and share your own. That kind of communication is, in and of itself, a good way for you to feel valued. Instead of judging and criticizing how he goes back to work after dinner, instead ask him, “I notice you like to go back to work after dinner. I’m curious why that is? Would you tell me about that? I know I’m toast after work and dinner, and I just want to curl up on the couch … how is that for you?”

In summary, take a stand for yourself, look at your part in the dynamic, provide what’s desired, ask clearly and specifically for what you want, appreciate where he does value you, and get curious about why he does what he does.

That’s a really good start to a relationship where you both feel more valued!

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Reviving Intimacy and Passion

Why does intimacy and passion die over time in relationship?

In the beginning of relationship, we are open and in a mood of wonder about who our partner is. We delight in discovering who this amazing being is, eager to uncover the wonderful aspects of this marvelous person. We highlight our partner’s strengths and virtues with our attention.

We focus on what we love about him or her – their beauty, intelligence, caring, sexy, sweet qualities. We tell our beloved what we love about him or her, what we appreciate, all the things they do and give that we are grateful for, and we tell them several times a day. We talk for hours, touch and make love often, give heart-felt gifts – enthralled in the deliciousness of how absolutely wonderful and perfect we are together. We are wrapped up in a positive glowing story of who our partner is and who we are together.

As time passes, however, our focus generally narrows to what doesn’t work about our relationship and what we don’t like about our partners. Our view of our partner as being wonderful and perfect in every way begins to slowly change as issues arise. Perhaps they are not as open to sex as they used to be, or not as attentive or thoughtful, or perhaps they appear more controlling or fearful or jealous than we had previously experienced.

At first, we are able to see through their weak aspects to their virtues, seeing them as still fabulous with a little “garbage”, and we are more patient and understanding as we look for ways to support them. But as breakdowns and problems recur and disappointments mount, we begin to change our perspective about our partner. We invent unbecoming stories about them and highlight what they do that we don’t like. Before long, our beloved partners seem to be more like “garbage people” with a little bit of fabulousness.

Often, after years of partnership, we quit seeing our partner with fresh new eyes. After all, we know who she or he is now. There is nothing much new to discover about them. We know how they are in the morning, how they are when they get angry or moody. We know how they have sex and how they get dressed up and how they eat and what they eat and drink. We know where they get stuck and upset and fearful. We know what makes them laugh. We know how they sleep and how they look at all times of the day. The longer we know who someone is, the more we can say that we know who someone is.

This knowing sense of your partner comes with lots of stories and labels. If I asked you to describe your partner to me, you would have a descriptive list of their qualities and activities. You would be able to tell me who they are.

Eckhart Tolle said that the second you label something, you quit really being with it. When you label a tree “a tree”, you quit seeing the intricacies of the tree. You don’t delight in the discovery or in the experience of something the moment you label it. It is a little bit like, “been there, done that”.

The same is true of our partners, and this is the quickest way we kill intimacy and passion. Our labels and stories of who our partner is begin to take over. We no longer see our partner as a mysterious being that we are eager to discover. We no longer delight in discovering who they are in this moment, and in this moment, and in this moment. We long ago discovered and labeled and categorized and invented a story about our partners, so much so, that now, when we look at our partners, we see our story of them, our labels of them. We do not see them in this moment afresh at all.

Intimacy: Into Me You See. I do not see into you when I label you. I do not feel you, hear you, smell or taste you. When I move with you like you are a certain way, there is no presence, no discovery, no magic, no creation.

Labels prevent you from seeing into me too. Your story of me prevents you from being present with the ever unfolding of who I am.

Intimacy: Into Me You See. Not only do I not see you when I label you, but I don’t see you when I avoid looking into your eyes.

Over time, as we become accustomed to interacting with our partners like our story and labels of them as opposed to the miracle of them, we quit making eye contact. We look “at” our partner’s briefly throughout our days and nights, or close our eyes altogether, especially in lovemaking. It is easier, more comfortable to escape into the darkness of an unlighted room or closed eyelids rather than feel the discomfort we feel being really seen by our partner.

Truthfully, making eye contact with someone, extended eye contact, will bring to the surface rather quickly any places that are out of integrity or presence anything that hasn’t been said. Eye contact will rather quickly reveal if anything is in the way of pure connection – ie.. negative beliefs, incompletions, unsaid truths. If anything is in the way, discomfort will arise from eye contact, forcing the one looking to quickly hide again behind closed eyes, to avoid being found out .

Lack of practice is also a key factor. When we are accustomed to not looking into our partner’s eyes, uneasiness is common when we re-visit this practice. We will want to turn away, talk, giggle, divert attention away from our discomfort by avoiding eye contact and silence. Overall as a culture, we are unaccustomed to being present to our uncomfortable experiences and to telling the truth about our experiences in the moment. We have embodied a whole host of un-intimate relationship practices that we can’t see – they appear so normal that we remain unconscious to how we keep ourselves from experiencing intimacy.

We all have an idea that intimacy and passion is a “feel good” proposition. It is a yummy, delicious blending of two bodies and souls in union.

While this certainly is one aspect of intimacy, it is not the only aspect.

Sometimes deep intimacy comes from sharing our fears together, our stuck places, our anger – being vulnerable. Some of my deep experiences in lovemaking have come from my partner and I stopping in the middle of our experience to reveal our lack of presence, our pre-occupation with some thought, our belief that we should be doing something in particular or an arising insecurity or doubt. This honest revelation in the middle of lovemaking brings us closer to each other, and actually heightens our experience of intimacy – rather than taking away from it as you might think.

Intimacy – into me you see – is about sharing authentically who we are with our partner in the moment. The closer our communication is to our actual experience of it, the more connected we are to ourselves and the more moving and freeing our truth is. You cannot experience deep connection and intimacy and passion when you are not fully expressing yourself.

We all have areas where we don’t fully express ourselves. We don’t say how we really feel about our partner working late hours, or forgetting our birthday, or rushing through sex. We all have reasons for not saying what we feel and want and can easily talk ourselves out of communicating potentially difficult feelings and desires. But each time we don’t say something that needs or wants to be said, the more we put a wedge between us and our partners and the more we affect our intimacy.

Love is what is present when there is nothing in the way. Therefore, the more we don’t say, the more there is in the way between us and the less we will feel love and intimacy. The more distant we are, the less we will look at each other. We may go through the motions of sex and communication, but without full disclosure and full self-expression, there will be little true connection in our activities and we will feel more and more empty in the process.

We not only withhold truths through the course of daily living, we quit saying what we feel and want in our lovemaking too. We quit asking for what we want and settle into playing out old patterns in our sexual encounters. When we don’t ask for what we want or risk initiating honest communication or sharing some new sexual desire, we put what is not said between us. Love is not so easy to experience when there is much that is not said in the space.

Similarly, when you squelch your words, you are also, most likely, squelching your sexual expression. Passion is most felt when we surrender to sexual energy moving through us and allow it to take us where it wants to go. When we can let go of our preconceived notions of lovemaking, tune into desires as they arise, and move in concert with these desires minute by minute in the sexual dance, passion is inevitable. Sexual energy is best expressed and experienced when it is spontaneously allowed to flow in whichever way. If we have beliefs that certain practices are not welcomed or permitted, or that there is a prescribed order to sexual activity, these beliefs will inevitably inhibit our sexual expression.

Additionally, when we move with our partners like we already know them sexually and intimately, we quit being in exploration mode. It is another way where we bring our mind into activity and prevent ourselves from entering a no-mind zone – fully being present to our experience in the body realm. We are in “do” mode instead of “be” mode. We are in “knowing already” mode instead of hanging out in a world of discovery and wonder with our partner.

I remember the first time I saw a Tantra video, of long time lovers talking about how they wanted to be touched by the other in exquisite detail, how shocked I was to not only see people talking to each other that frankly and honestly about sex, but how open the person listening was – how much he or she moved like they didn’t already know. The intimacy and connection and creativity in the moment was astounding to me. It required that both partners be present and open and honest and receptive and unassuming.

Most of us, are needless to say, not accustomed to such frankness and openness in our sexual expression. We wouldn’t think to take an hour to focus on pleasuring just one of us, sharing every detailed experience along the way. Most of us wouldn’t think to talk that openly and detailed about other subjects way less charged!

There are many other ways we get in the way of experiencing intimacy and passion.

We resist the natural cycles of relationship. All things have a cycle. The moon, the seasons, plants, the waves upon the shore. Relationship also has it’s own cycle. The heart opens and closes. We experience intimate times and distant times, times when we are together and times we are apart. Each partner may have different needs for togetherness and closeness, and so resist one or the other cyclic aspects. Navigating these contraction and expansion periods can be tricky – especially if partners interpret the contraction periods as being bad or wrong. Both are an important part of the relationship growth process.

We are unaware of what has us and our partner really feel loved – some of us feel loved when touched, some of us when spoken to a certain way, some of us by being shown – flowers, cooking, gifts. We begin by doing everything and accidentally “hit” on our partner’s love strategy, and then over time do what has us feel loved, not necessarily what has our partner feel loved.

We have incompletions from the past that we have not forgiven or released. Incompletions that are difficult to let go of are accompanied by beliefs we don’t find it easy to let go of. To forgive someone and release them of some negative experience, often requires that we look at this situation anew. Sometimes it means taking responsibility, owning your power and taking charge of how you want things to be different in the future. Completing incompletions from the past can remove huge obstacles to intimacy and passion in relationship.

We have unrecognized negative beliefs about ourselves and our partner. The quality of our intimacy in relationship is directly related to the quality of our beliefs. If I believe I am unworthy of love, for example, I am not likely to be able to take in that you love me and that will have a direct impact on how intimate I feel with you. It is an important part of intimacy work to examine and shift limiting beliefs.

All of these breakdowns in intimacy and passion are caused by conditioned relationship practices that keep us from creating the closeness and freedom of expression we all desire. Most of us long ago learned dysfunctional relationship beliefs and practices, and we re-create these patterns every day without our conscious awareness. Until we learn new ways to approach relationship, until we learn new ways to think and interact, we are doomed to keep repeating patterns that don’t work – frustrated by the lack of transformation and change in our relationships.

But the good news is we can learn new ways to be in relationship!

You are invited to join us for a 90-minute virtual mini-workshop, How To Revive Your Intimacy, on June 7th at 10:00 AM. $40 per couple.

In this mini-workshop, you will engage in several practices to promote connection, relaxation, depth of sharing, and lighthearted playfulness in your relationship.

In this experiential mini-workshop, be prepared to:

  • Melt into each other
  • Go deep fast
  • Step into love
  • Play and have fun
  • Learn tools for reviving and recreating intimacy
  • Discover how to slow down and sync up when stressed or busy
  • Create a safe space to be vulnerable and real
  • Discover how to keep the connection alive day after day

Learn more and register here: https://loveworksforyou.com/how-to-revive-your-intimacy 

 

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