Creating a great relationship pretty much comes down to one thing in my experience. In a nutshell it is all about taking responsibility. By responsibility I mean taking ownership of your thoughts, feelings and behaviours in relation to your partner and above all not expecting them to be the person who is responsible for your happiness.
We all grow up with an idealised notion of what romantic love entails. When we project all our hopes and wishes onto our partner and expect them to be the one person who will bring us all the love, contentment and joy we could ever wish for, at some point we will be in for a big disappointment.
Many of us are intent on looking to get feelings such as security, love, connection and joy from our partner and there is no doubt about it, a close, connected relationship can enhance these feelings, but they must be nurtured inside of us to begin with. This is the hard truth and there have been many a time when I wished it wasn’t because sometimes it feels so much easier to blame than to hold your hand up and admit to your own failings or weaknesses.
Being a trained Imago Relationships facilitator there have been times when I had to annoyingly swallow my pride and remind myself that my husband is always only ever acting as a mirror for a disowned feeling or emotion within me, the pain of which has yet to be fully healed and therefore something I must take ownership of. Staying in blame or victim consciousness will never get us anywhere. Being hyper-critical or judgemental does not work in our favour either. Even though we tend to know all this on an intellectual level we often get sucked in to the energy of our emotions and start acting like a child or taking on a more critical parent role. Before we know it this can soon become a perpetual cycle of behaviour, which can create a battleground of disagreements or the silent but deadly passive aggressive behaviour.
So how can meditation serve to transform or heal our relationship and is it really powerful enough to help us transform how we are feeling in relation to our partner?
The beauty of regular meditation is that it helps you to become acutely aware of your thoughts and feelings. It helps you to realise that the ‘real you’ is actually the person who is watching and observing all of the thoughts and emotions from a kind of back seat position. As a result you begin to see that the mind is just like the monkey, the Buddhists describe, jumping from branch to branch on a tree, not being able to sit still but endlessly going from one thought to the next.
Our mind loves a drama too. It loves to conjure up stories that tell us our partner doesn’t really love us, that they are attracted to a work colleague, that we are not good enough for them or even that they are not good enough for us. Basically it loves to torture us because in essence it thrives on feelings of fear and separation.
Meditation is an antidote to all of this mind torture. It helps you detach from all the stories and start to experience blissful moments of calm and inner peace where you can just sit back and watch any thoughts that do float by without buying in to them. On the occasions when you do buy into them and your emotions get triggered meditation gives you the time and space to be with those feelings, albeit not an always easy experience and sometimes painful but always transformational and releasing. In this way you start to find yourself being far less triggered by your partner, not to say that it never happens, but when it does there is an opportunity to apologise or repair the disconnection more quickly because you know deep down that you had a role to play in the argument or disagreement.
Meditation encourages you to ‘just notice’ what is happening in your experience and it promotes ownership as opposed to blame because you get to see that it is never about your partner but it is always about you. They are only ever the trigger. Meditation can also promote vulnerability and intimacy because in encouraging ownership it also encourages the desire to connect and be more open and honest in communication. It helps you to see that the defensiveness or need to be right all the time is just pointless and is really just another mind game. It certainly does nothing else but put up a barrier between you and your partner having the loving and connected relationship you really desire.
Of course meditation is not a quick fix or a cure all for your relationship but it can, without a doubt, make life a whole lot easier and fundamentally help you have a better relationship with yourself which is more than half the battle when it comes to relationship contentment.