“It is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a day-to-day basis.”
Recently Bruce and I have been very busy with things to do, places to be, deadlines to meet, goals to accomplish. Many of these activities have also meant time apart. I think that most of you know this experience in your relationships–so many calls for our time and attention and only 24 hours a day to give. So what’s a modern couple to do? How do we find time for the important things to do without sacrificing our relationship (or our other irreplaceable treasures like health, self and other significant relationships with family and friends)?
I was reminded of one possible answer when reading the newsletter of Randy Siegel, our good friend and communication expert. He described two types of people. First was one who, “When you’re with him, he makes you feel like talking to you is the single, most important thing in the world. You feel seen, heard, understood, and, yes, loved.” With the other person Randy described, you’re experience is more like this: “You’re talking, and they’re looking around, have that glazed look on their face, or nodding their heads impatiently waiting for you to pause so they can interject a point.”
Being present is essential to maintaining your connection
To strengthen your connection with your spouse, practice being fully present when you’re with each other. Broadly, “being present” means to be undistracted, focused on your partner, being attentive to and aware of only that which is occurring in that given moment. Below are some suggestions on how you can bring greater presence into your relationship.
- Intend to be present. You increase the likelihood of being present simply by committing yourself to be 100% attentive to the here and now.
- Take your time. While we can be present at high speed, slowing down often helps us fully absorb all that happens in a moment of time.
- Use all your senses. Like slowing down, tuning in with our ears, eyes, nose, heart, mind, and intuition help us pick up on the richness of now.
- Minimize distractions. Even with our best intentions, ringing phones, chiming PDAs, buzzing doorbells, and other interruptions can pull us out of our present connection. Eliminate anything that’s likely to snatch you away from your focus on your partner and your relationship.
- Build “being present” time into your routine. We do this through our gratitude ritual at the evening meal where we focus solely on holding hands, sharing our gratitude, and listening attentively as our partner shares (We do this before meals with friends as well.). Presence is as valuable in the everyday setting as it is at a romantic dinner or special getaway, so practice it regularly.
Do you have other ideas on how to be present with your partner? We’d be delighted to hear your suggestions and learn about the practices you and your beloved use to stay intimately connected amid the hustle and bustle of daily life.
“If you have one eye on yesterday, and one eye on tomorrow, you’re going to be cockeyed today.”