Being Present: In Relationships
It is so difficult to achieve and nurture one of romance's most vital factors in today's world....intimacy. Intimacy doesn't just mean sex; it also entails emotional, spiritual and relational connection between two people. With so many distractions (i.e. televisions, laptops, tablets and cell phones), couples today have to put forth a sincere effort toward making their relationship a priority--ensuring to always set aside space and time for real connection.
As we move on to the next topic in our series on Being Present, we will focus on relationships and how we can put some practical ideas into place in order to 'be present' with our significant other at some point (or points) of our day. First let's go over some of the factors that threaten our ability to 'be present' with our partners:
-Cell phone usage (i.e. emails, social media, shopping, YoutTube, etc.)
-Television (applies to both sexes)
-Tablets and laptops (whether for personal or professional use)
-Not spending time alone or foregoing date nights (it's important that we set time aside away from the kids, family, friends and coworkers)
There are plenty more distractions that aren't listed above, but we will keep the list short and focus on the things we encounter daily rather than those that only show up once in a while. In romantic relationships, we need to feel seen, heard and valued. We need to feel that our partner considers us a priority in their lives. We can communicate this level of connection in our relationships by spending just a little time talking to our mate, asking about their day, sharing stories, and showing interest in whatever they are interested in. And when we do this - connect - it's equally important that there be no distractions that could compete for your attention (or theirs).
Here are some simple ways you can take a 'time out' and connect with your partner each day:
-Call or text to wish them a good day, or ask how their day is going.
-During dinner time, ask eachother 3 questions (What was the best part of your day? What was the not-so-great part of your day? What was the unexpected part of your day?)
-End the night by taking a shower together (no phones or other distractions in the shower....just the two you)
-Spend some time each night, in quiet reflection. Its important that you each talk about the things that interest you, while the other listens.
These are pretty simple to do, but it's important that during the face-to-face conversations, we actually listen to one another and minimize distractions (i.e. TV off, cell phones on silent and out of reach, no laptops/tablets, kids not in the room). There are also unique opportunities to connect with your partner on date nights, in hobbies and on special occasions. In order to cultivate intimacy, we sometimes have to do things that our spouse likes to do -- its a small sacrifice of time and energy that will pay off later. BUT!!!! Be sure to be PRESENT when doing so. Here are a few examples from my own marriage:
My husband, Mark, likes to play golf. He would invite me to come along but I always thought it was a 'guy thing' and didn't want to impose on his tee-time with the boys. So I declined his offers, and instead spent the hours at home with the kids, cleaning the house and waiting impatiently until he returned. Two years ago, I finally gave in and accepted his invitation. Not only did I go, but I actually really enjoyed myself...so much so that I wanted to learn more about golf and play more often. The side benefit, was that I got to spend early Saturday mornings taking in the smell of freshly cut grass, while watching the sunrise, with the man I love. And he...was just as elated to have me there, and eager to teach me more about the game, perfecting my swing, as we complemented one another whenever we made a good shot. Being present at golf, made Mark happy and feel valued.
Mark does the same for me whenever he listens to me talk about the books I am reading, the adventures of work, the funny thing our youngest daughter said that day, the cute trick our dog did, that homework assignment I was dreading....whatever! He just listens, then asks questions and shows interest in what I' saying. That's really all I need to feel seen, heard and valued each day. But on a higher scale, he takes me to music shows (because he knows I love music), supports me on my endeavors (work, school, blog, etc), encourages me when I'm down, and celebrates with me whenever I triumph. He's there - and that's what I receive as intimacy.
You see, it's important to know what your partners' interests are, so that you can arrange time and space to be present in those moments (mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically there, all in). Maybe your partner just wants you to watch the game with him? Maybe she just wants you to sit and chat with her while she cooks dinner? It doesn't have to be some GRAND gesture, just something simple, attainable and concrete to the things that matter to the person you love.
This week, connect with your partner in such a way that you each know in every clear sense of the word: that you are CONNECTED. Be present, Limit distractions. Listen. Ask questions. Just a few minutes of this simple practice each day, will make a positive impact on your intimacy. And if you really want another incentive....just know that mental, emotional, and spiritual connection usually leads to physical intimacy later in the evening. Enjoy 'being present' with one another, Loves.
Peace & blessings,