Mindfulness is a big buzzword now. There are many avenues people are seeking to become more mindful, including different forms of meditation, yoga, and even psychedelics, In our very stressed out world, we are all searching for a way to bring more peace and calm into our lives. As couples therapists, we help partners bring that into their relationship.
Ever wonder what it means to be mindful in your marriage or relationship. In essence, it means to see things as they actually are, and not as we wished they were or imagine them to be. To be mindful in relationship means accepting and even embracing things as they are without trying to change them. The foundation of conflict is seeded with the desire to change the other, so not trying to change is a big challenge. We want so desperately to find peace and we mistakenly believe that if things are done the way we want them done, peace will prevail and joy will reenter the relationship.
Let’s say for example, one partner is unhappy with the frequency of sex. An unmindful response would be to criticize, shame and blame the other partner. Another unmindful response would be to go outside the relationship. In both scenarios the mindset is, You are wrong and I am right. I want more sex, and you should too or at least accommodate me.
A mindful response is infused with the energy of love and includes kindness, generosity, curiosity, empathy, validation, openness, acceptance, flexibility, forgiveness and lightness.
A mindful response means communicating our needs in a calm and loving way without criticism shame or blame. This may sound like:
I love making love with you more than anything in the world. It makes me feel connected and safe and reminds me how beautiful a connection we have. It’s hard for me when we have sex less than twice a month because we get so busy and stressed out with work and the baby. I would love to make love more often, and I’m not sure how to go about it because I know you are stressed out too. What ideas do you have on this?
Mindfulness will always involve leaving behind judgment, reactivity and attachment to a particular outcome, and bringing in the energy of love instead. Every relationship, when you add mindfulness has the potential to be a transformative journey towards wholeness. Bringing mindfulness into your partnership offers the kind of intimacy and connection that we all want.
What does it look like to be a Mindful Couple?
A Mindful Couple realizes that the way they trigger each other has something to do with their childhood wounds or wounds from a previous relationship. This awareness fuels curiosity and care about how they can show up to help in the awareness and healing of those wounds.
A Mindful Couple places the needs and desires of one another as a priority and sets out to meet those needs without expecting anything in return.
A Mindful Couple accepts and respects differences between them. Rather than ‘rallying against’, these differences are seen as sources that will enrich and expand the relationship.
A Mindful Couple always addresses needs directly with each other, rather than going outside and complaining to friends and family or sitting and sulking or worse yet, attacking.
A Mindful Couple realizes that anger is a result of pain and becomes more curious and compassionate rather than defensive and reactive, with each other and with themselves.
A Mindful Couple learns to take responsibility in all breakdowns, even if on the surface it appears to be their partner’s fault. They always want to know what they did to provoke their partner, even if on the surface it appears to be the other’s fault. Both partners make repairing a priority.
A Mindful Couple is always extending themselves outside of the relationship to support their partner’s cares including friends, family or the world at large.
A Mindful Couple understands that the true beauty in life happens in the present moment and avoids ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. They help each other bring lightness and love to every moment, especially when times get challenging.
Probably the most important skill for a Mindful Couple is deep listening… the ability to ask questions, to find out the others perspective, to validate even in the face of disagreement and to empathize; to really put yourself in the other’s shoes. Only from this perspective can a path toward more love and connection have the capacity to emerge.
To become a Mindful Couple is an ever-evolving journey, not a destination. It’s a commitment not all couples will make. The Course of Miracles states that whatever is before you is your highly individualized curriculum. For some, it’s just too much effort and work to be using your relationship as an opportunity for growth and development. However, for those who choose to make their relationship a mindful one, there are many rewards to be gained. We see couples transform from angry and disconnected to loving, joyful and connected. Should you choose this journey we say… enjoy… for it is truly a beautiful and rewarding one. We see it every day with our clients and we experience it in our own lives.