What does it mean to be mindful in your relationship?

Mindfulness in your relationship is a relationship that fosters maximum psychological and spiritual growth. It is a relationship that is created by becoming conscious and cooperating with the fundamental drives of the mind:  to be safe, to be healed, and to be whole. 

We choose are our partner for two basic reasons: 1) they have both the positive and negative qualities of the people who raised us, and  2) they compensate for positive parts of our being that were cut off at childhood. We enter into relationships with the unconscious assumption that our partner will become a surrogate parent and make up for all the deprivation of our childhood.

Over time we realize that our fantasy of the perfect relationship is well... just a fantasy. We have decided the reason our relationship is not working is that our partners are deliberately withholding our needs and desires from us. They know exactly what we want and need, and are deliberately withholding it from us. This makes us angry and for the first time we see our partner's negative traits. As conditions deteriorate, we decide that the best way to force our partner to satisfy our needs is to be unpleasant and irritable. If we yell loud enough and long enough, we believe our partner will come to our rescue. Your delight in each other has turned into anger and their good will has degenerated into a power struggle or a battle of wills. 

What is the way out of this labyrinth of confusion and destruction? 

Here are 9 qualities of a mindful relationship:

1. You realize that your love relationship has a hidden purpose, the healing of childhood wounds. Instead of focusing on your needs from your partner, you learn to recognize the unresolved childhood issues that underlie them. When you start see how these wounds get in the way of closeness and connection with your loved one, your daily interactions take on more meaning. Confusing aspects of your relationship begin to make more sense to you and you have a greater sense of control.

2. You create a more accurate image of your partner. At the very moment of attraction, you began fusing your lover with primary caretakers. Later, you projected your negative traits onto your partner further blurring the reality of your partner. As you move toward a more mindful relationship, you gradually let go of these illusions and see more of your partner's truth. You see your partner as another wounded human being, struggling to be healed. 

3. You take responsibility for communicating your needs and desires to your partner. In an unconscious relationship, you cling to the childhood belief that your partner will automatically intuit your needs. In a mindful partnership, you accept the fact that in order to understand each other, you have to develop clear channels of communication.

4. You become more intentional in your interactions. Relationships will not work well when you tend react without thinking. This is when you allow your primitive brain to control your behavior. In a mindful partnership, you stop and think before you you say something. And train yourself to respond in a more constructive manner. 

5. You learn to value your partner's needs and wishes as highly as you value your own. In an unconscious relationship, you assume that your partner's role is to take care of your needs. With more awareness, you let go of this self-focused view and divert more and more energy to meeting both your own needs while negotiating your partner's needs. 

6. You embrace the dark side of your personality (compassion). In a mindful relationship, you openly acknowledge that you have negative traits. As you accept responsibility for your dark side, your lessen your tendency to project your negative traits on to your love mate which creates a less hostile relationship. 

7. You search within yourself for the strength and abilities you are lacking (self-awareness). One reason you were attracted to your partner is that your partner had strengths and abilities you lacked. Therefore, your partner gave you the illusion of wholeness. To have a mindful relationship, you realize that you need to develop hidden traits within yourself to truly be whole. 

8. You learn new techniques to satisfy your basic needs and desires. During a power struggle, you try to persuade, lecture in an aggressive and critical manner, and blame in an attempt to coerce your partner to meet your needs. When you move beyond this stage, your realize that your partner can indeed be a resource for you, once you abandon your self-defeating tactics. 

9. You accept the difficulty of creating a good relationship. Many people believe the myth that the way to have a good relationship is to pick the perfect partner. In mindful relationships, your realize you have to be the right partner. As you gain more realistic view of love relationships, you realize that a good relationship requires commitment, discipline, and the courage to grow and change.

Mindful relationships are hard work but its worth it!