Written by:

Updated on:

January 12, 2016
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Navigating Changes in a Marriage or Partnership

Relationship transitions are not always easy. Sometimes they are welcomed, such as when we are entering into a new and anticipated phase of togetherness. Often, however, they are difficult to navigate; and when left unattended, they can wreak havoc on our sense of wellbeing.

Any relationship changes over time; there is no way around this. Whether we are considering a relationship between intimate partners, friends, or family members, everything is subject to change.

So, what can we do to assist ourselves and our loved ones during these times of transition? Learning or developing more mindful ways of relating might be our first step.

Mindful Relating in Partnership

During both relationship transitions and the times when things seem to be sailing in a predictable fashion, developing mindful ways of relating is crucial. Mindful togetherness enhances compassion, understanding, and acceptance – even in the face of difficulty. This applies not only to marriages but to all forms of one-on-one relationships.

Mindful relating can include a variety of practices and principles, such as:

  • Open and attentive listening
  • Mindfulness of our emotions
  • Heart-centered practices
  • Relaxation exercises to facilitate openness
  • Awareness of personal bias or judgments

Essentially anything that helps us to be more fully present with our partner – through the clear skies and the stormy waters alike – increases our ability to relate mindfully. These can help us to navigate the relationship transitions we are experiencing and to reconnect with the love and shared humanity at the heart of ourselves and our partner. Over time, we can develop these practices as mindful relationship habits.

What Are Mindful Relationship Habits?

As our relationship changes over time, we can use these shifts to develop our mindful ways of relating with our partner. Whether we are committed to staying together or have decided to part ways, we can develop these habits to see us through to the end or to the next phase of our partnership.

Mindful relationship habits include:

  • Practicing vulnerability
  • Listening with curiosity
  • Coming back to compassion
  • Being willing to learn and to understand
  • Being present – through the happy and the sad

This list is certainly not exhaustive. For each partnership, mindfulness will be expressed in slightly different ways. At the core of it rests presence and compassion. Allow your heart to guide you through the rest.

About the author 

Sean Fargo

Sean Fargo is the Founder of Mindfulness Exercises, a former Buddhist monk of 2 years, a trainer for the mindfulness program born at Google, an Integral Coach from New Ventures West, and an international mindfulness teacher trainer. He can be reached at [email protected]