Consciousness is Medicine for Our Relationships
We are at a crossroads in our relationships every day. Do I do my best to show up as my best self? Or do I blame you for why I don’t? I have been working with couples for 20 years and I have heard every reason why a partner might justify NOT showing up as his or her best self.
• “I’m not cleaning up the kitchen until she starts to show some appreciation for how hard I work.”
• “I don’t say hello to her when she comes home from work because she didn’t say goodbye to me when she left.”
• “Why do I need to tell him where I’m going when he came home late last night? Let him worry.”
In this tit for tat mentality, each partner loses. One partner feels slighted and then responds with a lack of generosity that sometimes borders on punishment. That partner may feel completely justified in acting in a stingy or unloving manner, but it doesn’t feel good to deliver just as it doesn’t feel good to receive. So…what is the antidote?
I believe that the antidote is consciousness. If I consciously choose to walk a path of love in my primary relationship every day, then I can always feel good about my intentions and my actions. And if I don’t feel that my partner is doing the same, I can respond with a request for conscious connection and conversation.
For example, rather than quietly deciding that my partner is not showing enough appreciation for me and, therefore, working less at home (as in the 1st example above), I can instead do the following:
1. Ask my partner for a good time to talk where we can both focus (enough privacy, plenty of time, devices off)
2. Take responsibility for my feelings rather than blame (point the finger at myself since my reactions are mine)
3. Be willing to listen (maintain an open heart and open ears)
This might culminate in a request that sounds like this:
“I realize that I feel disconnected from you. I’m not feeling like you have been appreciating my efforts recently, and I feel hurt. Can we talk about it because I would love you to hear me and I would love to hear what’s going on for you, too.”
Does that sound hard and unpredictable? That’s because it is!! When people talk about the “work” of relationships, this is the work!
And I already know what you’re thinking and you’re right….many things can go wrong along the way. My partner could react with defensiveness. I could accidentally say it in a hurtful, blaming way despite my best efforts. And on and on…
But what happens if I don’t try? These consequences are the ones that scare me more. My partner and I drift apart more and more. We stop being affectionate towards one another. We start living parallel lives where we act more like roommates than lovers. How many couples do you know that are in that predicament right now? Too many.
So – when I take the risk and do the “work” of bringing up the hard stuff so we have an opportunity to process it and reconnect, I’m doing my best to breathe life into my relationship rather than allowing it to slowly die. And if it all blows up despite my best efforts, then I can consciously choose what to do next. My intention is to bring conscious love into my relationship every day – not hedge my bets.
I love helping couples rekindle and deepen their relationships. Sometimes a couple just doesn’t know what to do to change a stuck dynamic because they have been in it for so long. Please don’t give up without getting help! Couple’s therapy can really help. And my husband and I teach classes that focus on different aspects of relationships. We have a class coming up on Sunday, April 15th from 9am to 1pm that we are calling “CONSCIOUS LOVE.” We hope to answer the question: “How to I consciously give and receive love in my primary relationship – NO MATTER WHAT!” See the EVENTS page for more information. That’s my intention in my own relationship and I hope to share some best practices with you or those you love who might be struggling on this issue at this time. Thank you for trusting me to help.
You can use the Schedule Now button for therapy sessions or to enroll in the class. And the class is for couples and singles, by the way. Single folks can benefit from setting their own intentions for relationships before those relationships even begin.