Steps for couples to enhance their marriage with mindfulness practices.
The wedding bells rang, the guests tore up the dance floor, and you rode off into the sunset. Or maybe you planned to, but the pandemic shuffled your intentions. If you’re transitioning from the honeymoon stage of matrimony to the challenges marriage can bring (finances, children, purchasing a house, living and working together in a shared space), how can you extend the honeymoon phase without emptying the piggy bank on another honeymoon? By implementing a shared mindfulness practice! Sure, it may not sound as exciting as a trip to Hawaii, BUT I guarantee it will make you more in sync than sunbathing on the beach (ahh, but that does sound nice!).
Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of ourselves in the present moment and not judging our current experience. People often perceive mindfulness as a solo act, but the root of mindfulness is concentration and connection. It enhances our relationship to ourselves when practiced alone, and it deepens the connection between two people when practiced together.
Four Methods for a Mindful Marriage:
- Practice Loving Kindness. Loving Kindness, or Metta meditation, invites you to expand your ability to have compassion for yourself and others. It opens the doorway to the possibility of being mindfully calm, clear, and loving. The practice itself is quite simple and involves Loving Kindness mantras that you repeat silently to yourself. Here are some examples:
- I am loved.
- You are loved.
- May I be safe.
- May I be healthy.
- May I live with ease.
When you wish yourself or others things like safety, peace, health, and ease, you fire neurons in your brain, thus installing new neural networks. This positive state of mind results in a happier you and a happier partnership when practiced with your significant other. Try this Loving Kindness guided meditation as a starting point.
2. Write down three things you are grateful for about your partner. Take a few minutes to turn your mindful attention to all that is amazing about your partner. Here are some prompts to get you started.
- What do you admire most about your partner?
- What characteristic of their personality or way of being is most endearing to you?
- 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?
3. Listen to a guided meditation together. Give yourselves some extra time before bed. Brew some of your favorite tea, sit on the couch next to one other, relax, and play a meditation. Insight Timer is an excellent source for free meditations. Spend some time after the meditation reflecting on what came up for each of you and how you feel mindfulness could benefit you, both as individuals and as a couple.
4. Do things together that bring each of you joy. It may sound like a given, but sometimes we get so caught up in the busyness of our day that we forget to cultivate or recognize joy, especially after the year we’ve had. An excellent way to practice mindfulness with your partner is to share your simple pleasures. Make a list of your simple joys and choose one to do together every day, or pick a weekend to do a few at once! Maybe it’s brewing the perfect cup of coffee or cooking together. Perhaps it’s taking the dog out to your favorite hiking spot or laughing together at a comedy special.
It’s easy to get stuck in a routine, whether it be a personal daily routine (coffee, shower, check emails) or a shared nightly routine (dinner, wine, Netflix). Mindfulness can help loved ones continue to see the amazing in one another. It can also provide essential tools for keeping your cool and taking the ups and downs of marriage in stride.
The more mindful you are with your significant other, the deeper your connection will be — through it all, in sickness and in health.