I spent a little time today researching “mindful marriage,” just trying to get a handle on what the internet thinks it is, in all its variations.
I liked this definition of mindfulness from marriage.com:
In its simplest form, mindfulness is about being in the present moment, slowing down to become attuned with ourselves and others, and acknowledging the experiences of ourselves and others with a spirit of curiosity and compassion.
It means not letting our awareness wander when we are supposed to be focused on something specific. It means being HERE…NOW…IN THIS PLACE…WITH THIS PERSON…COMPLETELY.
I can honestly say, I don’t do that often enough. My brain is so fractured into different states of being, with tendrils dipping in an out of the past and future, constantly planning, reflecting, evaluating, and ruminating…rather than just being.
It’s definitely a weakness of mine in pretty much every facet of my life. Trying to keep my brain centered on what is going on in front of me and being there whole-heartedly in the moment is the goal, at least with my most important relationships…starting with my marriage, since I feel it is the fundamental relationship upon which all others hinge.
Designing ways to connect, with minimal distractions, is paramount to the success of any relationship. Simple things like setting aside time to be together, creating rituals and routines and traditions that establish connection, and communicating deeply on a regular basis help a couple maintain the relationship. But, over time, it can become all too easy to set these things aside or fall into habits of complacency. I’m quite guilty of letting life get in the way and letting things that matter least trump those that matter most because I take for granted that they will always be there.
But, the older I get, the more I realize that time is not finite. These moments I have with the people I love are fleeting.
Building a habit of mindfulness when it comes to marriage (or any relationship, really) starts with observing thought patterns and building an awareness of what is getting in the way. Too busy? Too tired? Depressed? Overwhelmed? Focused on something else? This line of questioning doesn’t need to be judgmental; it simply needs to be a “noticing.” Obviously, most of us have other obligations and responsibilities in the world aside from our relationship commitments (even those that are central and life-altering, like marriage or parenting). We can’t always be thinking about one particular relationship or devoting all of our energy to it. We can, however, make the time we have with that individual better and deeper by focusing our mental and emotional energy on them when we are together. That’s a do-able thing for any of us.
A few things I’m going to do:
Leaving my phone in the other room when we are hanging out on the couch watching TV in the evening. This way I can focus on physical contact and just being with Him.
Reflecting (in writing…mainly in my newly created submissive journal) on my position as a submissive wife – not just as a sexual submissive, determining what gets in the way of me fulfilling this role in the way that I want to and really exploring why I want and need it.
Making a concerted effort to be an active submissive, seeking ways to please Him rather than just waiting for Him to give me directives when He wants me to serve Him or fulfill His needs.
I know He hates “calendaring” time together or scheduling in “date nights,” but for me, this is a valid way to ensure that it’s not overlooked or lost in the busy-ness of life. So many of us are working ourselves to death and it seems our careers and homes and children get the best of our energy, leaving only what’s left (which is often not much) for our partners. But shouldn’t those we love get the best of us?
I know that my Husband brings up this point from time to time, because I have a very real and regular habit of giving too much to others and leaving myself too exhausted to give much, if anything, to Him.
What we already do:
Marriage Talk Sundays – Every Sunday (though sometimes we forget, tbh), we check in with each other and discuss any issues that have come up for us. It could be a true problem that needs to be solved, or maybe just a question or concern. Sometimes there’s nothing to discuss, but that alone is something, right? Being aware that all is going well and acknowledging it on a regular basis is still mindfulness.
Fridays without Kids – We can’t make it work all the time, but we are lucky enough to have two sets of grandparents in the area and no excuses not to use them to help us get a child-free night once per week. We’ve not been able to do this for awhile, but things have changed and opened our schedule back up for the time being.
Being thoughtful and present with our loved ones is not only important, it’s imperative to the health of those relationships. Our partners deserve our best. They deserve our undivided attention and deepest efforts.
Putting our partner first is what love is all about. Deciding to do it is the first step. Taking actions to make it happen is next. Then, reflecting and keeping it up…forever.
Til death do us part.