Love relationships are one of the most beautiful and complex experiences we can have in this human life. They can bring joy and ignite passion, and they can also challenge us to face ourselves and get clear about who we really want to be.
One tool that is nothing less than indispensable throughout the journey of love is mindfulness. It can help us create more peace and love in our partnerships, as well as more calm and balance within ourselves. Whether you and your partner are just starting out and want to connect more deeply or you’ve been together for years and want to rekindle that connection, call on mindfulness to support your relationship goals. You’ll be glad you did!
5 Mindful Tips to Support Your Partnership
Practice gratitude in your relationship: Turn your mindful attention towards all you are grateful for about your partner. Here are some prompts to get you started:
What about them makes you smile most?
What do you admire most about your partner?
What characteristic of their personality or way of being is most endearing to you?
What about your partner inspires you most?
What was one of the first things you noticed about them that drew you to the partnership?
Recall one of your most meaningful times together. What did your partner do or say that was so impactful, and what does that reveal about the core of who they are?
Share your gratitude with your partner: This can be a conversation, a card, a letter, a song, a drawing — express your gratitude to them however it feels best to you. Let your partner know that you see what’s amazing about them. You can do this to celebrate an anniversary, birthday, or holiday, or special event or — even better — just for the heck of it! We all know how wonderful it feels to be acknowledged lovingly just for love’s sake.
Share your joys: Making a joy list is a wonderful practice than anyone can do for themselves. Sit down with your partner, make sure each of you has a pen and paper, and then take 10 minutes or so to jot down all the things — big and small — that give you the most joy in life. This can be anything from a warm cup of coffee in the morning to a beach vacation. Write them all down.
When the 10 minutes is up, share your joy lists with each other. Are there any items on your lists that you could enjoy together? Some may take some planning (like the beach vacation), but others (like the morning cup of coffee) might be something you could more consciously enjoy with one another. Look closely at your lists. Even things you might assume are items you would normally do alone — like, say, getting a massage — could perhaps occasionally be shared with your partner. Stay open, get creative, and make a third joy list that is comprised of experiences and activities you wish to share. You might even come up with some new ones as you begin sharing.
Transform challenges with Loving Kindness: There’s no doubt about it: relationships take work. After the “honeymoon phase,” we begin to see our partner more clearly as the perfectly imperfect human that they are — and they see us more clearly, too! That’s not a bad thing; it’s just the reality of deepening your connection over time.
Challenges and frustrations are a normal part of life with a partner, but they don’t have to be so overwhelming when they arise. Next time you’re faced with one of these moments, try the practice of Loving Kindness. Loving Kindness softens the situation and creates more space for compassion.
As you expand your ability to have compassion for yourself and others, you open the doorway to the possibility of being mindfully calm, clear, and loving — even in the midst of a chaotic moment. Here are some examples of Loving Kindness mantras you can try. You can also create your own. Experiment with switching “you” for “I” and “we” and see how that feels.
You are loved.
May you be safe.
May you be healthy.
May you live with ease.
May you be loved and appreciated.
May you be valued.
May you be kind.
May all beings be safe and free from suffering.
Remember to Breathe: Another great tool for navigating challenges is the Receiving-Sending Meditation (traditionally known as Tonglen). You can use the simple act of following your breath with intention to defuse the intensity of your internal emotional reactions.
Inhale with the pain and exhale with love. Inhale with any feelings of anger, frustration, or shame; exhale peace, calm, and goodwill. (Side note: This is great for chaotic emotional moments in your relationship, or anytime at all. Try it in line at the DMV, at the mall during holiday time, at the office, at a family gathering, and so on.)
Relationships are a labor of love. In the wise words of Fred Rogers, “Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun, like struggle.” Giving your mindful attention to strengthening and nurturing your relationship is one of the most loving things you can do for your partner. May these tools lift your hearts and inspire more joyful times together.
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