To be close to someone, we have to see them and let them see us too. Most of us want to be seen as the complex, real people we are. Everyone wants it, but how do we get it? How do you make room in your relationship for your partner to be themselves and for you to be yourself?
Even though intimacy isn't only found in romantic relationships, it should be a safe place for partners to explore their inner depths. When you both respect and trust each other, you have what you need to open up in deeper ways. This is real closeness. It’s a way of getting to the core of what you think, feel, and experience by peeling away layers of yourself.
Sexual connection can help make a couple feel closer to each other. But the sense of being together won't be complete without emotional or spiritual closeness. Mindfulness is one way to facilitate this.
In fact, you can't be close to someone if you don't practice mindfulness. That is, paying open, nonjudgmental attention to your experience. It helps you be more present, patient, compassionate, and accepting of your partner. You need to feel safe with your partner if you want to share more of who you are.
Being mindful is simply listening with an open heart that is curious. Let go of assumptions and the stories you tell yourself. Mindfulness is a skill that can be learned through practice.
Following are two exercises you could try to make your relationship more mindful and, hence, more intimate.
Sharing with purpose
Even though you may talk to your partner quite a bit throughout the day, how often do you do so mindfully and attentively? Set aside regular time for deliberate sharing. To explore this practice:
Shared practice of meditation
Have you and your partner ever meditated together? Research shows that meditating with someone else can make you feel closer to them and more willing to talk about personal things over time. Meditation helps you get rid of the clutter of everyday life and become more aware of what's going on inside you. This can change the things you share with your partner, how you share them, and how you listen to them in return.
Sit face-to-face and set a timer to try this. Close your eyes and meditate in silence or with a guided practice that makes you feel good. After the timer goes off, each person should talk about how they felt during the meditation.
You could also try to connect in other mindful ways. For example, you could try a meditation while holding hands. You could also try matching your breath for a short time.
Any or all of these will give you a boost towards real emotional intimacy. Let me know how it goes!
Do you get jealous or irritated by your partner’s creative pursuits? How important is it to acknowledge, support and participate in our partner’s creativity?
It’s well established that creativity enriches our lives. Whether it’s a passion for theater, painting, dancing, etc., can you be supportive whether you are creative in these same ways or not?
If your partner finds meaning, joy and purpose in their creativity, showing interest in their endeavors helps them be seen and accepted by you and that is the best kind of love! Ask to see their work! Go see them perform! Encourage them!
Inviting someone into your creative world is an act of intimacy. How special if your partner shares this with you! Appreciate that they want you to see that part of themselves.
If your partner’s pursuits are not endangering your relationship, be willing to sacrifice so they may carry on. This love and support will come back to you.
The sacrifice may be time. It’s hard to give your partner up for the time it takes them to do their creative activity. However, pursuing things that bring us joy, makes us better people in the long run. These activities give us energy and well being to spill over into the other parts of our lives. You’re going to benefit from your partner’s greater joy!
The sacrifice might be helping to allow your partner the time. Doing tasks or occupying children to give them the space to do their art is support.
The sacrifice might be supplying them with a place or tools to do their art. Maybe sharing an office or making over a corner in the bedroom. Your partner is going to wonder what they did to deserve such a supportive partner!
Sometimes, we put aside our creative pursuits, especially when we’re in the limerence stage of a relationship. In the beginning, we don’t need anything other than our beloved to be fulfilled. It’s natural, after some time, we need more than our partner’s presence to fulfill us. Creative pursuits may have been paused. It isn’t a threat to your relationship when other things are needed.
Appreciating your partner for who they are, artist and all, is a precious gift. Your partner will adore you even more for honoring this integral part of them. Their own happiness and well being will be better off when they can engage in their creative pursuits. And who benefits from that? YOU!
If you don’t think you’re very creative, try to join in! Your partner may enjoy being your instructor and it may lead to a joint hobby you both can appreciate.