What should you expect from your partner when you’re married or in a long term, committed relationship?
You can expect your partner to listen to you and care for you, … but your partner cannot meet all your needs and WILL disappoint you (and that’s okay).
We want our partner to be our best friend, intimate lover, emotional support and safe haven in times of distress. With these expectations, it is impossible to NOT disappoint each other.
Disappointment doesn’t mean there is something wrong, with you or your relationship. Managing your disappointment is a choice you make, and is an opportunity for continued growth and connection. The lessons you learn can only be learned through relationship.
MINDFULNESS WITH COUPLES
A mindful therapist focuses on the present moment while listening for unresolved issues from the past. This allows space for the things that aren’t said but are seen or felt. We ask our clients to mindfully turn their attention inward to notice, with a curious mind and without judgment, their internal experience. This includes but is not limited to thoughts, feelings, ideas, impulses or sensations. Most of our communication is non-verbal.
MINDFULNESS ACCESSES OUR INTERNAL WORLD
Mindfulness not only helps clients calm their internal distress, it allows deeper access to their internal world. This access moves clients from a cognitive level to an experiential (felt) level, allowing neural patterns to change.
BE CURIOUS ABOUT YOUR CLIENTS’ EXPERIENCE
Processing the present allows deep communication. Connect with each partner by reflecting their experience, not just their content. This reduces blame and slows down or stops their negative loop.
COUNTERTRANSFERENCE: NOTICE YOUR OWN INTERNAL EXPERIENCE
Let your attention go inside. Take your time, noticing your breathing, your thoughts, feelings, impulses. Notice how you slow down, to wait, to be curious and wonder. Your couple will notice and follow your lead.
Couples need to feel safe with their therapist and with each other. This safety allows each person to mindfully slow down, allowing vulnerable, previously unconscious material to unfold. Allow the observing partner to “feel” the other. Process what it’s like for each partner to feel the other and then, to be felt by the other. This is transformational.