You know I’m an advocate for conscious relationships. But it is really hard work. Being in a good relationship is an art. It needs attention, commitment and discipline, as well as willingness to let go, to trust in the unknown, to be open and vulnerable. Sometimes it’s just easier to follow the standard recipe, the familiar route, the automatic pilot who blindly lands you into safe territory where you don’t have to think too much.
But what if you want to go deeper into your relationship? What if you what you want is beyond the short cuts? I definitely do not have all the answers, but trust me when I say that you will not get there by changing your relationship status on Facebook. Here, I share my favourite practical tools on how to infuse your relationship with soul, right now.
5 creative ways to add more heart + soul to your relationship
//Intentions, visions, colours + dreams
Intention setting and vision boards have been part of my life for the past year or so. There is something about quietening your rational, practical, goal-oriented, activity-focused left brain and allowing your imagination to run wild. Letting yourself dream, creating bit by bit an image or vision of your life. Forget about answering the ultimate interview question ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years?’- in my opinion, totally useless information. Instead, focus on how you want to feel. Danielle LaPorte teaches us to work out our core desired feelings, before setting an intention. This way, your life is lined up to your soul, rather than trying to fit some of you into your fixed, restricted routine. How do you want to feel when you get up in the morning? How do you want your relationship to feel? Once you work out how you want your life to feel, making decisions is easier because your intention flows from those feelings.
Challenge your relationship status and create an evening out this exercise. Sit with each other, with a glass of wine if you like and some yummy dark chocolate to get you going. Have a go each at closing your eyes, and imaging yourself and your love together. What do you feel? What words pop out of your vision? Colours? Try to paint the picture using emotions as a guide, before you attempt to fill in the gaps of what, where + when. Take your time, enjoy it. My love and I recently did this on our Sunday evening walk to the supermarket (not quite as luxurious as my recommendation)! It was harder than I thought, but we actually realised that our visions and what we want to invite in our lives was almost perfectly aligned (phew – good news considering we just exchanged vows…). And once we had done this, it was much easier to talk about the future and what we practically want out of life.
//Disconnect to reconnect
Unplugging from ALL devices is essential to really be there with someone. For months, we have been intending to make it a weekly date, when phones and laptops are put to the side and we simply spend time together. There is something about setting a date and keeping it that makes it extra special. You want to make an effort, cook a wholesome meal, play some music, hold hands, be intimate. Don’t take each other or your time together for granted.
When the reality of the wedding started knocking on our door and brought along Miss Overwhelm and Mr Be Perfect, I realised that unless I sat my bum down on my bolster daily to find stillness, I would find myself missing this important time in my life. Not being present because my mind is fogged by the millions of insignificant details and fears, was something I was not prepared to go through at this point. I wanted to be ALL THERE. To remember the emotions, the people, the words we exchange.
And so, I somehow convinced my love to try a 21 day meditation experiment where we agreed to meditate for the days leading up to our wedding (which were just over 21). Some of the time we would meditate together, other times we would carve our own meditation space in the day. My love is a beginner in meditation (and although I’ve had a longer practice, I still consider myself to be one too) so there was some initial concern around what ‘to do’, but this subsided simply by following a breath meditation. We agreed to set the timer to between 10 and 20 minutes as a minimum and committed to this practice for ourselves and for us as a couple. I strongly believe that one of the reasons we remained sane and calm throughout the wedding time and what in fact allowed us to have such an incredible experience was because we managed to sit together, quietly, breathing through each thought and each sensation. Meditation teaches you to become more present, more aligned with your body and more sensitive to your needs, as you are not so distracted by the intensity of the ego-mind. In a relationship, being still and able to listen and give each other space is truly a skill worth practicing. You can talk and talk and talk, but sometimes, you just need to be silent and trust.
Couples who meditate together, stay together – Unknown
//Spend time apart doing what you love
Trust your relationship enough to be apart. I am easily swayed to skip my yoga class or postpone my meditation to have coffee with my man or spend an extra hour in bed together. Harmless sacrifice, until I realise that I actually feel resentful for not prioritising myself and my me-time. It is amazing how quickly I get disappointed as our time together fails to meet my unrealistic expectations.
All of that just because I missed my yoga class? Well, it is not just yoga. All those little adjustments we make early on to allow space for the relationship to grow, like changing our habits and cutting down friend time, in the long term, might actually be holding us back from connecting deeper. One of the most attractive things in life is confidence. Confidence to be separate people, to have different interests and personalities. When a couple is confident to allow for independence, it is ultimately investing in the future. Spending time apart and allowing each other to grow without control or feeling threatened means that you have satisfied parts of yourself that give you the inspiration, momentum and oomph to fully invest in your relationship, without expecting your partner to fulfil your every need (which is by the way, a recipe for disaster).
//Do something that scares the crap out of (both) you
Go skydiving (on my list).
Go upside down.
Commit + relate.
Share three reasons why you love each every night (super hard!)
Cry without hiding it.
Try new things in bed.
Be there, even when it is terrifying.
Share your fears.
Argue well + make up better.
Say you’re sorry + mean it.
++ And now, I’d LOVE to hear from you in the comments below – how do you infuse your relationship with soul? Share your wisdom below!
There is something about making the commitment to try, to experiment, that alters our energy. Try with love, and see what happens.
Thank you for reading, once again x
image credit Albumarium