Practicing mindfulness allows an individual to be in the present by being accepting and nonjudgmental of one’s self. You must first learn to acknowledge who you are and get to know yourself. It is then that bringing mindfulness into a relationship can help accomplish a long-term, meaningful relationship.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is described as a way of directing attention. This technique has been used in Eastern cultures for centuries, but just has recently been adopted in the West. The goal of this technique is to focus attention on the self at that moment in time (whether it be positive or negative) and what you are currently experiencing.
This is done by accepting and being nonjudgmental of one’s self as we work to eliminate the external forces that we as humans typically focus on like rehashing the past, reliving memories or rehearsing the future, making plans. Many people focus on these things over them again and again without paying attention to the now. As a result, relationships can suffer. This is where mindfulness can help.
Relationships and Mindfulness
Mindfulness has received more attention in the medical literature of the past decade, but this research has focused primarily on the effects that mindfulness has on psychological well-being, physical health, and happiness of individuals. The interpersonal effects of mindfulness (mindfulness in relationships) have received relatively little academic and research attention.
Let’s consider the fundamental association between the quality of interpersonal relationships and the individual psychological and physical health of each partner. To completely understand how mindfulness positively affects a relationship, you must take into account your personal functioning and its potential consequences.
Several authors have theorized about the possible benefits of mindfulness in relationships (romantic). A question comes to mind, does mindfulness promote relationship satisfaction and longevity, or do happier relationships make us feel more present and open?
Thriving vs. Surviving
All relationships will have ups and downs, but how do you get through these times? Nobody is going to completely fulfill everything you’re looking for. Today, most people have high expectations of themselves and even higher ones for the person that they want to spend their life with.
Most romantic relationships begin with what many refer to as the honeymoon phase, where everything is blissful, and everyone is happy. However, the progression of the relationship can take couples into different stages that are far less pleasant. This is also the time when you see couples make a conscious decision to learn to love each other or fail in the relationship (whether they stay together or not).
This is the time when a relationship will thrive or just survive. Certainly, you have seen examples of each of these types of relationships.
A relationship that is thriving is one in which the partners have learned to overlook the small things that cause triggers, and instead of being judgmental or finding fault, they use the opportunity for self-growth. There will be fights or disagreements, but the couple has learned to look beyond and realize that this life-partner still has the same high values and is a good soul.
This is a couple that “works” on their relationship and has learned how to manage conflicts by bringing mindfulness into their relationship. They are able to build a life together, grow their family, and have a healthy long-term relationship.
This is a relationship in which the couple remains together because of moral obligations, religious requirements, cultural beliefs, or other reasons and they are “just going through the motions”. You may have seen couples like this (or you may be in a similar relationship) that are more like roommates than lovers.
For some reason or another, this couple has grown apart instead of growing closer. One of the main reasons that this occurs is because one or both of the partners are not able to work through conflicts and look beyond judgment and finding fault. This can be very difficult when a person has not learned to be in the present and is unable to find a way to incorporate mindfulness into their own life.
Many people seek someone that can be not only their life partner but also their soul mate. For this to happen, you need to align with your own soul first. You need to find some form of mindfulness that allows you to discover who you are, what is in your heart and accept the present. When you let this happen, you can then move forward and bring mindfulness into a relationship. This will allow you and your life partner to develop a deeper, soul connection.
Studies have shown that when couples bring mindfulness into their relationship, it can improve psychological and physical health, increase empathy, and cause a heightened state of attention to their partner. This ultimately leads to a self-other connectedness and promotes romantic relationship satisfaction and stability.