It’s so hard to completely be there with your partner when there are so many things in today’s world calling for your attention. Most of us feel like we’re being pulled in several directions at once, all day every day. Text messages are going off, we’re thinking about that big presentation we have to do at work, a child is sick and the cat pukes on the carpet. All of this and your spouse is mad at you for zoning out when they just told you a funny story about their work. Sure there are lots of things clamoring for your attention. But what is going to sustain you? What gives you more love and joy than your relationship? It really deserves much more than most of us give it on a daily basis. A relationship needs time and energy invested in it to grow and prosper. Otherwise we fall into a rut. So how can we be more present in our relationships? First, stop multitasking. Researchers at Stanford University uncovered recently that multitasking doesn’t work. It just makes you do so many things poorly. Instead, focus on completing one thing at a time. Delegate and prioritize. Find ways to organize yourself and manage your time wisely. That way when it’s couple time you’ll have more time for it and less on your mind so you can stay more focused on that special someone sitting before you.
When it’s time to spend time with your partner, turn off your electronic devices. Unless you are gaming together, no one should be looking at their smart phone or tablet during date night. You should be staring into each other’s eyes instead. Why not relax together? Find a hobby you are both interested in that you can pursue together. Have fun, be lighthearted, get excited about something and go for it. Laughing out loud and enjoying things together are a great way to be present, live in the moment, reduce stress and strengthen your bond. How about a romantic weekend away? You could stay in a B&B in the country, a bungalow by the beach or go camping in a national park. Look for shows, concerts, plays, sporting events or stand-up comedy shows that interest you. Throw them on the calendar and talk about how excited you are getting as it draws near. Why not go to the spa together? Enjoy a couple’s massage. Cook together and really focus on the sensual pleasure of cooking, the sights, smells and tastes. Dance around the house and act silly sometimes. Spend time talking about each other’s day. Eat dinner together and discuss things. Instead of veging out in front of the TV at night, turn it off and talk to each other. Go through old photo albums and talk about the past. Taking time to really be present is one of the greatest joys you can have as a couple. To learn how to become more present read, Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment—and Your Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn.