Life can be awfully stressful sometimes. The ongoing pressures of housework and bills, demanding jobs, kids, and errands to run can be overwhelming. Add some political turmoil, our fast paced, 24-hour “social media” culture, and personal goals… And it’s a wonder we aren’t all tearing our hair out!
Even for the strongest marriages, this stress can take a toll. If you work all day in a high-pressure scenario, come home to a million more things to do, and feel like you’re constantly trying to catch up, think about how that can affect the way you communicate with your spouse. You might take your stress out on each other, arguing about insignificant things – or you may even feel so exhausted that you largely ignore each other at the end of a long day.
If you’re having some troubles in the marriage, this stress is amplified even more – and because it has a way of keeping you tense throughout the day, it’s that much harder to even deal with problems calmly.
One powerful way to fight back against this kind of stress is meditation.
Now, before you write it off as “woo woo” or something for hippies and gurus… Meditation can take many forms, and doesn’t even have to be a “spiritual” pursuit. In fact, meditation is mostly a practice of mindfulness and conscious relaxation.
The practice is gaining popularity among many different circles, from business leaders to healthcare professionals, and the psychological benefits are huge!
Before we get into the “how,” it’s important to understand that meditating takes a little bit of practice. With some time set aside each day, however, you can quickly improve your ability to focus your mind, calm your nervous system, and engage yourself in the present moment.
So much of building a healthy marriage shares the same principles, too. Being patient, present, and calm are all parts of good communication, and we know that many marriages fall apart because of neglect and carelessness – exactly what meditation fights back against.
To get started, you first have to make time to try it out. You can start with just 5 minutes of your day! Get rid of all distractions (including your phone) and focus your mind. Control your breathing and relax your body. You can use this time to think about a particular topic, or to simply focus on relaxation itself. Don’t let your mind wander!
This simple act of focus and calming will help you train your brain to focus, to stay on topic in conversation (or arguments), and control your knee-jerk emotional responses. As you get more and more into meditating, you can find all kinds of guided meditation programs, apps, and the like. You and your spouse can even meditate together!
Experts say that meditative couples often enjoy a closer relationship, find it easier to communicate, feel more connected, sleep better, and fight less. Couples can meditate together by sharing silence and eye contact, taking deep breaths, and intentionally focusing on the connection they feel to one another. Many people report that this practice helps them discuss issues more rationally, helps them avoid getting angry, and because they feel more connected, they deal with each other more empathetically.
Meditation can be a powerful tool for improving communication, intimacy, patience, and so much more. It helps pull you out of the perpetual stress cycle, helping you pause and reflect on what’s really important to you. Just taking the time to calm your mind and body has a way of rebooting the way you think and feel about the world – almost always for the better.
Give it a try and see how it makes you feel – and remember, it takes a little practice to really get into the focused mode that provides the most benefit, so don’t give up after the first day. Ask your spouse to join you, and explore the benefits meditation can provide for your marriage.
For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com