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rekindle your relationship

Rekindle Your Relationship With Mindfulness

Do you recall the beginning of your relationship, when you first fell in love? What is it that made those butterflies in your stomach fade away? What happened along the way that made you lose those moments of staring into each other’s eyes and not getting enough? Try to remember those wonderful moments and describe your behavior. Recall your partner’s behavior at that time. Is it still the same?    

Too often in a long-term relationship partners stop the very behaviors that connected them with one another and not because they stop loving each other but because they begin to take the other one for granted. Sensual and gratifying behaviors are lost, such as looking deeply into one another‘s eyes, mouth to mouth kisses, sexual innuendo, offering your partner focused attention, active listening, random compliments, gifts, etc.    

What is it that you have stopped doing? What has your partner stopped doing?  What behaviors would you like to rekindle in your relationship?

How can Mindfulness help you rekindle your relationship?

Mindfulness is a practice of awareness in the present moment. Dr. John Gottman, relationship expert and researcher, describes successful long-term unions as a “string of pearls” made up of mindful moments of connection and appreciation. The happiest and healthiest couples do not necessarily spend a lot of time in conversation but they have a myriad of ways of mindfully connecting with one another in the present moment.

Walton and Kathryn were a couple who maintained mindful connection for 60 years despite financial hardship, two jobs, and four children. Their laughter was their prosperity during hard times. Their joy and pleasure in one another was the wealth in poverty. Their love was the antidote to sorrow.

Their daughter, Jan, shared that she thought all parents went to sleep laughing and sharing affection at night because her bedroom shared a common wall with her parents.’ Joy and laughter are forms of mindful connection to one another in the present moment. 

When Walton was dying, he told a group of us who stopped by the story of how he and Kathryn had a hurried wedding so he could go off to the Second World War and that she was still his sweetheart after 60 years. She sat beside him and beamed. Walton and Kathryn are an inspirational couple who maintained a mindful connection over time. We have all seen such couples but what lessons can we apply to our relationships? 

In order to have a relationship as successful as theirs, mindful training is a plus. Mindful training includes practice of focusing on the breath to calm down and experience the present moment, and deliberately sending compassion to self and others.

In order to maintain a healthy relationship, partners should make a habit to manifest affection towards one another. Physical affection boosts testosterone in a woman and oxytocin in a man and increases his bonding with her. Just mindfully thinking about your partner with feelings of loving-kindness can boost the pleasure chemical dopamine and lower stress hormones adrenalin and cortisol. You get a kind of pleasurable chemical shower.

One of the most effective acts is mindfully kissing on the mouth. That is because lips are incredibly sensitive. “Of the 12 or 13 cranial nerves that affect cerebral functions, five are at work when we kiss”. (Scientific American). In addition, kissing on the mouth allows for exchange of saliva that can help boost the immune system of both partners. Human beings are wired for connection, so practice mindfully bringing yourself into the present moment to enjoy all the sensations generated by an intimate kiss.

In order to maintain a healthy relationship, partners should make a habit to share affection daily.  Physical affection boosts testosterone in a woman and oxytocin in a man and increases his bonding with her. Sex therapist, David Schnarch, recommends a type of mindful intimate connection called “eyes open” sex so couples maintain prescient awareness of one another during the sexual experience.

PRACTICES

  • Physical affection and sex offer a myriad of opportunities to practice mindfulness with your partner.
  • As you kiss on the lips, notice how your body feels as you attend to the sensations of the present moment.
  • Remember what behaviors you had when you first fell in love and mindfully repeat those behaviors.
  • Mindfully look into your partner’s eyes with compassion for his/her struggles.

Find ways to connect mindfully with your partner in the present moment through laughter, mutual memories, walks, and shared affection. This becomes a positive bank account of emotions so, when times are hard, you have these connections.

Initiate sexual contact and use all your senses to experience the moment. Look into your partner’s eyes, play special music, savor the touch of skin, smell scented candles or massage oil. Always return to the sensations of the present moment.

It is possible to mindfully cultivate a compassionate awareness of your partner by following these steps:

Sit quietly for five minutes at a time and pay attention to your breathing. Since mindfulness is a practice, it is better to do this for longer. However, short segments can also be helpful.

Feel the breath moving into your heart with kindness and care and repeat: “May I be free of suffering. May I be at peace.” Allow yourself to be healed. Continue repeating, “May I be healed. May I be free of suffering” with each breath.

Imagine loving kindness with each breath. Continue breathing as you focus on your loving kindness and relating to yourself with tenderness while sending well-being into your mind and body. Repeat for a number of breaths: “May I find my greatest joy. May I heal into my true nature.”

Now bring your mind to your partner and imagine that you can send them warmth and kindness. With each breath think, “May you be free of suffering. May you be at peace.” Continue the breathing of connection and this wish for their happiness and wholeness, repeating: “May you be free of suffering. May you know your deepest joy, your greatest peace.” Continue and picture your partner’s presence with a wish for their healing and deepest joy.

To rekindle your relationship, mindfully pay attention and treat your partner as you treated him/her in the beginning. Don’t take him/her for granted and most important: enjoy moments spent together, living it in the present. This is what mindfulness is about!

About Dr. Linda Miles

drlindamilesDr. Linda Miles has worked in the field of mental health for over thirty years as psychotherapist, consultant, educator and writer.

She has appeared on national television, radio and in magazines such as Woman’s World, Parents and Entrepreneur. She wrote the award-winning book The New Marriage, Transcending the Happily Ever After Myth with her husband, Dr. Robert Miles. Recently she has published:

Dr. Miles has also served the mental health community through public service, including on the National Advisory Board of Access Technologies Social Simentor Model for Intervention with Autism and the Florida Commission on Support Initiatives for Marriage and Family. She has received several professional awards for her service, such as the “Outstanding Educator in Business and Industry” award from Florida State University and the “Outstanding Contributions to Knowledge in the Practice of Marriage and Family Therapy” award from the Tallahassee Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.

Dr. Miles has a continued passion for creating a better world through loving relationships. Visit her online at www.DrLindaMiles.com

Featured Image Copyright: nd3000 / BigStockPhoto.com

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self-care in marriage

Self-Care Contributes to Happy Marriages

Self-care is a big part of what you bring to your relationships. If you are not taking care of yourself, you can easily become depleted physically, emotionally and spiritually. This detracts from your ability to love and serve your family.

The more you take care of yourself, the more you have to give, the more interesting you are, and the more you not only love yourself, but are able to fully love and serve your spouse and children.

Being a tom-boy from Cody Wyoming, Courtney Beardall says she was a “little late coming to the party” when it came to self-care.

But she has concluded:

“How you take care of yourself, how you respect yourself, and the time you invest in yourself reflects in all aspects of your life. It’s the other side of the same coin of being successful. I’ve come to understand there is real merit in making yourself appear as you want to be. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s valuable.”

Audio Length: 4 minutes, 45 seconds

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Joe and Nicole Dean, married 20 years

Making Time for Your Marriage

When you’re a busy woman entrepreneur with or without kids, it can be very difficult making time for your marriage. By the time you get your work done, take care of the kids and the house, your marriage often gets the shaft. Just like your business, your marriage needs time to keep it nourished and alive.

I had the opportunity to interview busy entrepreneur, Nicole Dean about making time for your marriage. Here’s what she had to say.

making time for your marriage - nicole deanNicole Dean

Nicole says, “It’s always good for us to be throwing in something new and exciting. I always like to have something on the calendar to look forward to, so I don’t wake up and think, “Oh, it’s another day.”

Audio Length: 1 minute, 35 seconds

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Courtney and Dallas Beardall, married 23 years

Make Time For Each Other

From the interview I conducted with Courtney Beardall.

courtney beardallCourtney Beardall

Courtney and her husband are very active people. She calls them “do-ers” so they don’t let grass grow long enough to get stale in their marriage. What Courtney suggests is making time for each other whether you’re going to Dairy Queen or Mexico.

Audio Length: 1 minute

      CourtneyBeardall-Spice

 

Want all 20 full uncut interviews, all the audios below plus more subjects not included in the summit? Want them handy on your computer, MP3 player or phone? Get the full Having It All Audio Package here.

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Larry and Debra Gordy, married 21 years

Soul Satisfying Love: 3 Secrets to Creating It

I interviewed Debra Brown-Gordy about how to create a soul satisfying love. Here’s what she had to say…

soul satisfying loveDebra Brown-Gordy
www.TheSophiaWomensInstitute.com

In order to create a soul-satisfying love and to keep the spice, interest and vitality in your relationship, Debra Brown-Gordy says you need to understand first and foremost what marriage is. It’s not what many of us think. It’s so much more.

Listen to this 20-minute audio to discover 3 Secrets to Soul-Satisfying Love.

 

      DebraBrownGordy-Spice

Want all 20 full uncut interviews, all the audios below plus more subjects not included in the summit? Want them handy on your computer, MP3 player or phone? Get the full Having It All Audio Package here.

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Ayn Rand on Sex

Ayn Rand: Sex and How You See Yourself

My all-time favorite novel is Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. It helped me see where I had been enabling other people in my life. It helped me grow a spine and set boundaries in relationships. It opened my eyes to where I had lost myself. Reading Atlas Shrugged was one of the first steps I took in finding my way back to emotional and relational health.

I like Rand because she makes me think, and I absolutely love the characters in Atlas Shrugged. I’ve watched video interviews with Rand, and she comes across more abrasive and stubborn in person than in her fiction. I don’t always agree with her philosophies, but because I love the novel so much, I’ve tried to at least understand where she’s coming from. Doing so, has helped me gain new insights into relationships and humanity.

I was researching some of Rand’s quotes today for another blog and found this intriguing quote on sex. In recent years I’ve come to understand how closely tied our sex lives are to the value we see in ourselves. I’ve never heard anyone articulate it quite this way.

aynrand“Love is blind, they say; sex is impervious to reason and mocks the power of all philosophers. But, in fact, a person’s sexual choice is the result and sum of their fundamental convictions. Tell me what a person finds sexually attractive and I will tell you their entire philosophy of life. Show me the person they sleep with and I will tell you their valuation of themselves.

No matter what corruption they’re taught about the virtue of selflessness, sex is the most profoundly selfish of all acts, an act which they cannot perform for any motive but their own enjoyment – just try to think of performing it in a spirit of selfless charity! – an act which is not possible in self-abasement, only in self-exultation, only on the confidence of being desired and being worthy of desire.

It is an act that forces them to stand naked in spirit, as well as in body, and accept their real ego as their standard of value. They will always be attracted to the person who reflects their deepest vision of themselves, the person whose surrender permits them to experience – or to fake – a sense of self-esteem .. Love is our response to our highest values – and can be nothing else.”  – Ayn Rand

What do you think of what she has to say on this subject?

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Finding Mr. Right

how to get a man to love meI saw this post about “How to Get a Man to Love You.” I spent time during my dating years reading stuff like that. Trying to figure out how men tick and what I was supposed to do to “make a man love me.”

Here’s what I discovered… STOP trying to make a man love you. That’s the problem! You care too much. Stop needing, forcing or trying so danged hard. Just be yourself and the man who is right for you … who is going to love you … will just love you.

You won’t have to “get him to do it.” Be yourself, love yourself, hold to your values and wait for the man who knows he’s found a treasure from the get-go!

Here’s how I used positive affirmations to retrain my brain and found the man who instantly saw my value and loves me for me.

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Julie Hanks talking about love relationships

Should You Stay and Grow or Go?

The truth is relationships are rarely perfect and are often rocky. Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW, a professional therapist for 20+ years and married for 26 years says, “We have this unrealistic expectation about what love is – it’s bliss, it’s happiness. It’s really about growth. We have to ask, ‘Am I still growing in this relationship?’ Cause you’re not always going to be happy. Clients come in thinking something’s wrong because they’re not happy.

But, no, this is a chance to grow. The painful moments are a chance to grow. Even in family relationships, not necessarily intimate love relationships, there are always opportunities to grow but there are things we don’t want to look at.”

The things we’re defensive about are clues as to where we are being called to grow.

“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must become completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” – Cynthia Occelli

Hanks continues, “I think that happens in relationships too. Sometimes it falls apart to grow and come back together as something that’s even more beautiful.” As individuals and as a couple we should be progressing. “We learn about ourselves and grow in relation to other people. Isolated we don’t grow. We need each other. That doesn’t mean you have to be married to grow. We need relationships. We need to bump up against people to smooth off our edges.”

What To Do When Things Get Rocky

She also brings out that we pick partners who will force us to grow and heal past wounds. Julie says, “If things are rocky instead of asking, ‘Should we get divorced or not?’ ask ‘What do we need to learn?’ If you’re still growing, stay in it.

I really appreciated this last statement because what I told my first husband as I finally admitted I wanted a divorce was, “I die a little every day I stay in this marriage.”   I had grown so much in that relationship, addressed so many things in me, but it got to the point where I was no longer growing. I was dying. My well was dry, I had been completely depleted by the dynamic.

After making the decision, I went to a marriage and family therapist (who happened to be very pro-marriage). He helped me see my spouse was never going to grow as long as he was with me. It was too easy for him to be co-dependent upon me and allow me to carry the load. Odds were, he would never grow further as long as he was with me because of the dynamic.

In my opinion, there’s a time to stay and grow, and there’s a time to go. You have to judge for yourself whether you’re growing or dying in a relationship.

Watch the full interview with Julie de Azevedo Hanks. Lots more good stuff here:

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Gina Parris discusses sex in marriage

How Can I Enjoy Sex More with My Husband?

Some women have trouble enjoying sex. They may have trouble climaxing or they may suffer from low libido caused by menopause. Perhaps they just have a lower interest level than their husbands. But, most of the time, women are simply overworked by the roles they play — as wives and mothers taking care of a household, children and perhaps even pursuing a career, women can get worn out and simply be too exhausted for sex.

Your husband may be wondering, “How do I get my wife to be more sexually active?” And you may be wondering “How do I get him to leave me alone?” or perhaps a better question is, “How do I enjoy sex with my husband when I’m not in the mood?”

As I interviewed the entrepreneurial women for the Having It All Virtual Summit, I had a great conversation with Gina Parris about how to enjoy sex when you’re not in the mood.

Gina Parris

Gina wrote the book onHow to Have Really Great Sex When You’re Not In the Mood.” In this segment Gina talks about how men and women are wired differently and how to be responsive and connect even when you don’t feel like it to start with.

Audio Length: 7 minutes

 

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Get all 20 interviews with entrepreneurial women sharing their happy marriage secrets. We talk about intimacy, spicing up your marriage, overcoming financial challenges, bouncing back from setbacks, boundaries in marriage and families and much more. Click here for details.

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courtneybeardall-bekindfirst

Choose To Be Happy in Your Marriage

Courtney and Dallas Beardall, married 22 years.

Courtney and Dallas Beardall, married 22 years.

Courtney Beardall wrapped up her interview with me by sharing this sage advice:

“If you’re going to be happy in your marriage, you have to decide to be happy. You have to decide and make that choice every day. You have to not just “be happy.” You have to enjoy your spouse. Find genuine joy in them. A lot of times that’s deciding to find absolute delight in their quirks and shortcomings and silly things. Choose to find delight in your spouse.

A lot of times they need someone to take the lead. They need us to find them attractive and funny and handsome and invaluable. We need to be complimenting each other. They respond to that. If you’re treating your spouse badly and you expect them to treat you wonderful, you’re dreamin’! Be brave. Be kind first.”

Listen to this short audio with Courtney

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Be sure to sign up for the Having It All Summit and to be notified when the book is released. You don’t want to miss a thing! There’s a box on the right-hand side of this page to sign up for notices.

About Courtney Beardall

Courtney Beardall lives with her family in Northern Wyoming. If you don’t find her in her healing room, you will find her on a mountain top with her kids or exploring something new. Learning is a life long process and she is always looking for new and better ways to incorporate science, biology and spiritual laws. She is the creator of Investigating health, an energy modality that incorporates all aspects of the human body, including hormones, chemicals, structure, physiology and behavioral disorders. She teaches online courses in energy healing. Visit her online at www.CourtneyBeardall.com

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