This article was published in Forbes, written by Mark Travers. Click the article link at the bottom of the page to read the entire article.
Many couples come to therapy when they feel disconnected from their partner, who once was their closest confidant and companion. They ask questions like:
- “I feel like I have forgotten how to communicate with my partner. Why do we feel like strangers?”
- “I want to make my partner happy, but they constantly expect me to read their mind. How do I get to know my partner’s needs better?
- We have been married for 20 years. It feels like we know everything about each other. How do I keep my excitement alive when I feel like there is nothing left to discover about my partner?
Even the best relationships go through periods of stagnation. Sometimes, when rough patches go unaddressed, we can unknowingly lose touch with our partner. We stop caring about what makes them happy, take our relationship for granted, and settle into a state of relationship paralysis.
When our relationship is suffering, we arbitrarily make decisions to give our partner space or wait until the distress blows over. However, many psychologists will argue that such stressful times are the true test of one’s commitment.
This does not mean you have to make grand gestures of your love or make great sacrifices. It’s the little things that matter. According to research, incorporating the philosophy of mindfulness into your relationship and sex life can get you and your partner back on track.
Here are two ways to introduce mindfulness into your romantic relationship.
#1. Mindful partnering
According to psychologist Tasha Seiter, a relationship between two mindful partners is one where both partners feel cared for, fully seen, and heard. This creates a positive ‘giving’ feedback loop in the relationship, wherein both partners derive satisfaction from what they bring to the table instead of what their partner does for them.
Seiter’s research defines five characteristics that make up a mindful relationship:
- Presence reflects how carefully and diligently you direct your attention and action toward your partner. It dictates whether your partner feels seen and heard.
- Emotional awareness is your ability to understand your partner’s emotional state. You don’t have to be a mind-reader to be emotionally aware – your curiosity and empathy will suffice.
- Nonreactivity in conflict refers to your ability to take a pause in the heat of conflict. It makes sure that your responses in tough situations are rooted in logic, not spite or anger.
- Compassion for your partner ensures that you always take their perspective into consideration. It also leads to a cycle of mutual support.
- Compassion for yourself can pull you out of situations like downward spirals and relationship burnouts. When things go wrong, being kind to yourself can help you feel whole so you can continue to contribute to your relationship.
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