Use mindfulness to stop taking your partner for granted and start connecting on a deeper level.
When’s the last time you really looked at your partner? Or your partner really noticed you?
One of the most common—yet most dangerous–relationship pitfalls is taking the one another for granted. It’s easy to do when there's work, children, other people and household responsibilities to deal with first.
So how to counteract it? The buzzword popping up everywhere in health and wellness circles: Mindfulness. It’s a good concept and a better technique because it actually works. Simply put, mindfulness is about paying attention in the moment, purposefully and non-judgmentally, and bringing it into your relationship can help you fall in love again.
It also gives couples a tool for dealing with some of the relationship “pressure points” that can leave you seeing red before the other person can get a word out (e.g. money or jealousy). Avoiding those types of automatic reactions to your partner can remove big stumbling blocks in the way you communicate. In fact, mindfulness not only transforms our romantic relationship, but all of our relationships. So how do we achieve this higher-level response?
Step 1: Start with yourself. It’s the oxygen mask metaphor: Put it on yourself first. Begin by building mindfulness into your own daily routine by attempting meditation. If you've never tried it, simply engage in brief exercises in which you pay attention to your breath and your body, without judging your thoughts and feelings.
Step 2: Re-enact the early days. When you are falling in love, being present is easier because nothing else pulls you away from the sensation. Remember when all you could think about was your mate? Sit, look into each other’s eyes, and revisit that time.
Step 3: Practice a daily devotion. At least once a day, have a moment that is only about the two of you. It’s so easy to let everything else get in the way, but taking that moment to be present with your partner can get both of you through the rough days together.
Step 4: Don’t judge. A key piece of mindfulness is open and non-judgmental presence. Tune into yourself and accept your partner with an open mind, dropping the eye rolls, the huffs and the “here we go again” thoughts. Pay attention because this moment is the only moment, and by stopping and listening, you may finally start hearing.
Mindfulness can be as refreshing as rearranging the furniture (or better yet, de-cluttering the room). It can reawaken the feelings that brought you together in the first place. Use mindfulness to break out of your patterns and turn stress and drudgery into a challenge you can manage together.