Mindful Relating . . a Valentines’ musing

Welcome to this moment.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, it’s relevant for us all to take a mindful moment and strengthen our connection. It’s an opportunity to stop, pause, get present and get connected to our partner, our anchor and that person to whom we feel most connected.

Because connection just doesn’t happen over time—it happens in moments. And over time those moments join with more and more intensity in that bond, that attachment.

Do you remember how you met? Can you recite those moments in which you became aware that relationship was emerging into something more serious, committed and unshakeable? Like when he first phoned you after his doctor appointment, or when she gave you explicit permission to be vulnerable at your own pace? Or when he first walked your dog, or she took your cat to the vet when he was sick?

February 14th is a moment of celebration in which we embrace not just our partners and their meaning to us, but honor ourselves and our meaning to them.

Couples who have fond memories and who tell the story of their union in an affirmative light reveal a path to their connection, a passage that is and has been a better one than those who tell their story with contempt. Research also shows that couples who have ‘us’ conversations, who respect their own and their partner’s love languages, have sex (on their agreed terms), and remove contempt, stonewalling, defensiveness and criticism from their experiences, do better in the love game and, for those who are married, have less of a chance of getting divorced.

Yet not everything is always perfect.  In the midst of our busyness, most fall short in stepping up and noticing and appreciating their most powerful union. We abbreviate or even abort those gestures that honor our connection despite opportunities all year long (birthdays, anniversaries and other hallmark designations). Also, we know that after the lust, the limerence and years of kids, pets, job, family, deaths and the like, we get lazy, forget or just don’t care. There is always daily minutia to block our momentum.

And the repair of moments, of turn-aways, happens at different speeds for different dyads. One might dismiss their partner’s inattention in the backdrop of a strong bond. Another might feel terror in their connection riddled with breaches. As a specialist in infidelity, I see many of these couples. It is heart-wrenching to see those so close yet broken by betrayal who struggle with the challenge of attempting to restore the trust and the bond once held so dear. Too often we go through our day just moving onto the next thing, the future activity the next accomplishment.

Today some couples will cherish these moments and other couples who, by virtue of the disconnects will not. Not only will they not honor each other, but they may question the integrity and future of their relationship.

Hold gratitude close to your heart as you reach across for your partner, no matter how damaged or fractured the bond. There is almost always an opportunity for repair.

On this day we might think of the 5 love languages… and how you and your partner both give and receive affection and love because each quadrant within can be different. What comes easy for one may be vastly opposite the other and what feels right for one may mean nothing.

Take note . . .

Words of affirmation: Using language and words to let your partner know how important they are to you. “I’m the luckiest man in the world,” “I stop every day and think about how much effort you put into our family,” “Wherever I go you are with me’.

Acts of Service: Research shows that, take out the garbage get better sex. That is because, as a general rule, while sex for men begins in the bedroom (they are attracted to body parts), sex for women starts outside the bedroom in the relational part of the connection.

Gifts: Not just anything, but thoughtful ones. With the myriad of choices today I recommend getting someone something you know they want/like or going shopping with them. And honor essential events for them as well as thoughtful, meaningful intermittent surprises.

Quality time: A big one for both genders. Get rid of the electronics, the wires, the external connections.

Physical touch: Sexual and non-sexual. If you cohabitate or live together sleep in the same room; it keeps the energy alive. Have sex. The dopamine rushes and oxytocin that follows is imperative to building connection and increases the desire to do more.

So today, what will be your moment? Will it be a walk down memory lane to regain those moments that you hold so dear. A no screen/electronic day? A thoughtful and meaningful gift-one that exemplifies the ‘us’. Will it be a simple moment in which you create a space for mindfulness. Alternatively, will it be a family experience or a place where you together direct your energy to step outside to do something for others?

Moments need not have to be of epic proportions, but only to match the connection of the relationship.

2019-02-14T03:00:39+00:00February 14th, 2019|

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