"When you love someone, the best thing you can offer is your presence. How can you love if you are not there?" -- Thich Nhat Hanh
You know that feeling you get when you're talking to your partner or spouse and they don't seem to be "there there?" By that, I mean, a part of them is somewhere else, and it's not with you. You might wonder where their mind is, or feel insulted or hurt that they're not being fully present in your company. Sometimes our mind does wander, which is natural, and it can happen when we're with someone we care about who's talking to us, but if we are fully present when we're with the person we love, our focus and attention is on them, especially when they're speaking to us. It can, however, be easy to lose sight of that in our relationship or marriage because when you've been together with someone for a while, you can get complacent or even lazy when it comes to giving them the complete attention they deserve.
So how can you be more "there there" when you're with your partner or spouse? You make a conscious effort to stay fully present in their company, and treat them with love and respect.
Here are some ways to do that:
1. When your partner or spouse is talking to you, stop whatever else you're doing and give them your undivided attention.
2. If your mind starts to wander when your partner or spouse is talking to you, look into their eyes and feel the love you have for them. That will connect you to them in a meaningful way, as opposed to taking them for granted.
3. If you find yourself distracted when your partner or spouse needs to talk to you, share that with them so they'll know what's going on with you instead of having to wonder. When we communicate honestly with the people we love, it makes us feel closer, and we understand each other better.
4. If you find yourself not fully present with your partner or spouse, ask yourself where you are. Are you thinking about work, someone else, or what you're going to have for dinner? It's important to know what's taking you out of the present moment, and whether it's worth making it more important than the person you love.
5. If you'd rather be doing nothing other than being with your partner or spouse, but having a hard time concentrating on what they're saying to you, take a moment to center yourself so that your focus is on them. That can help pull you in the moment instead of allowing your mind to wander.
6. If you view your partner or spouse as someone who deserves the best of you, then that's what you will give them, and that means your total focus and awareness when they're speaking to you.
7. Try and listen to your partner as you would want to be listened to. Come from a place of awareness rather than a place of "away-ness."
Being in a relationship means "relating," and the definition of that is to "establish or demonstrate a connection." In order to do that you have to be fully present. Are you?
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