There you are, with extra time together, and you have a sticky truth inside of you that is difficult to ignore.
You don’t really find it easy to be with your partner.
You haven’t truly connected in a while. And you’d rather work on your own personal growth than work on the health and growth of the relationship.
You’ve been working on your own personal growth path for some time and thought that that might mean that you’d grow alongside one another. But now that things slow down, you notice, the results are not so magical.
You feel distant. You are hesitant to make the effort to truly connect.
You are finding that having more time at home with your partner is actually revealing the areas of your relationship you’ve been avoiding.
The unrest in the collective can highlight unrest in your relationship with your partner, that’s for sure. And now, people are at home in houses together, facing what they’ve been hesitant to face.
Connection takes work.
Feeling truly safe with your partner requires mutual cultivation.
Co-existence isn’t a quality investment for actual emotional or physical intimacy.
If you see trials as opportunities, and if you want your relationship to ultimately deepen and grow, this period of global frenzy and quarantine can actually be an opportunity to grow your partnership.
If you’ve been knowing that you need to relate to one another differently for your relationship to ultimately be successful, now can be the perfect time.
Here are some suggestions for how to cultivate a connection in your relationship in the extra time you now find you have.
1. Do your part to cultivate a safe & calming environment. Declutter, cook nourishing foods and put on calming music. If your environment feels calm and inviting, it will reflect as an inner calm as well.
2. Verbally invite safe shares in your family. Between you and your partner, you can set aside time to invite one another to share any honest fears that are arising. You can use sentence stems such as “When I notice this happening in the world ____, I feel ____, and this is what I think I need.” When we hear one another’s truth and vulnerability, we are more likely to compassionately show up for one another. At the same time, it’s difficult to read minds, so be willing to lead a vulnerable conversation.
3. It’s a great time to offer a comforting touch. A hug when you notice your partner is holding a lot of stress can be quite a gift. Often, when we notice people in stress, we want to get away from them. A hug, with a deep breath offered during the embrace, can help to ease the tension in the body system of the person you love.
4. Let someone show up for you. I know that in the midst of widespread fear, with “social distancing” proclaimed as a remedy, we can breed unnecessary amounts of fear and isolation. In fact, this can happen in the same house. To remedy the spread of isolation, allow someone to do something nice for you. Allow yourself to accept it. Look for evidence that your partner has been trying to do this, and pause to recognize it.
5. Take some time to do mindfulness together. Breathe together. You can experiment by pacing your inhale and exhale together. If this feels vulnerable, that’s okay, and in fact, this is a step toward greater closeness and intimacy. Breathing together is a really non-invasive and non-intellectual way of creating closeness when there has been tension or a growing chasm between you.
6. You could decide to invest in a mutual-growth track at this time. Perhaps you are ready to acknowledge that the distance between you is real, has been growing, but that you want to get back on track.
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