Pop Quiz! How would your spouse answer the following questions right now?
- What is their primary motivator at the moment?
- What is their biggest fear or concern?
- What is the dream that is driving them?
- What is their biggest source of frustration?
- How do they feel about the health of your relationship?
If you have a hard time knowing how your spouse would answer those questions, is it possible that you are not as mindful of your spouse the way that you used to be? Is your marriage on “auto-pilot?” Has your life become so busy that you are not continuing to connect deeply with your spouse?
Having a “mindful marriage” means making the deliberate choice to be “in the moment” with your spouse, prioritizing your connection and minimizing distractions so that you can really give them your attention, stay close and keep your relationship healthy.
Having a “mindful marriage” doesn’t just happen. Our lives are so demanding and busy that it is easy for us to be “mind-full” of a million things instead of our spouse. There have definitely been times where I have felt more like the co-owner of a small business with my wife than I have felt intimately connected to her in my marriage. Conversations turn into little business meetings: “Did you pay that bill? It’s our turn to bring snacks to soccer practice. We are having dinner with the Smiths Friday. Did you run to the store?” Then on to the next thing...
We keep “Family, Inc.” running as smoothly as we can, but our marital relationship stagnates, or worse: we can even begin to drift apart.
4 Ways to Have a More Mindful Marriage
- Make Routines Work For You: My wife and I have developed a bedtime routine that is simple and helps us stay connected. Your routine might be totally different. Before anyone dozes off, we ask each other the following questions and make sure that we are truly listening to the answers:
- What was the best part of your day?
- What was the hardest or most frustrating part of your day?
- Is there anything we need to talk through? (We might set a time to have the actual conversation.)
- We say “I love you” and “Goodnight.” (Then I might go watch the end of a game since I am a Night-Owl.) This routine or tradition has been wonderful and helps us focus on each other and keep our relationship grounded.
- Set boundaries for technology: Technology is often the biggest obstacle to a mindful marriage. Our phones allow us to be constantly reached or distracted by notifications. There is always a screen nearby with something interesting on it. Keep technology in its place and protect mealtime, bedtime, some time, for actual conversations with your spouse.
- Have a regular date night and protect it: It doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate or expensive. Just make sure there is a time when your spouse is your sole focus. Early in our marriage, we have shared a soda at the food court and just talked. We have had “in-house” dates. Prioritize this time and don’t let hectic schedules squeeze it out.
- Be deliberate: This is the whole point of a mindful marriage. Healthy, growing relationships don’t just happen.
It’s hard! Don’t beat yourself up! The reality is that our minds are filled up with good stuff - things related to work, friends, hobbies. Truthfully, it often is family-related. Just don’t let family business squeeze the focus from family members. Wait until you see the reaction when your spouse realizes that you are truly focusing on them and giving them all your attention. You’ll be mindful that it is absolutely worth it!
Written By John Daum