In its simplest form, mindfulness is about being in the present moment, slowing down to become attuned with ourselves and others, and acknowledging the experiences of ourselves and others with a spirit of curiosity and compassion. Mindfulness can be practised in simple ways that are explained later in this article.
Mindfulness allows us to build our internal capacity for strength and centeredness. Relationships, life and work often involve chaos and stress. When we are engaged in relationships with others, stress can be intensified, especially when our fates are so closely tied together through marriage.
Neuroscience supports the health and mental health benefits of mindfulness as well as regulation of the stress response in the body. A wealth of research indicates the benefits of mindfulness for personal and professional well-being. Practising mindfulness for less than ten minutes per day can cut incidences of depression and anxiety by half or more.
How is mindfulness related to marriage
When we practice as an individual or as couples we can greatly enhance our chances for well-being and happiness right where we are. Prolific author Brene Brown reminds us that “We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time. Mindfulness requires that we not ‘over-identify’ with thoughts and feelings, so that we are caught up and swept away by negativity.”
Marriage is not an effortless venture
There are very few worthwhile ventures that are effortless, and marriage is no exception. Adding layers of judgment for feeling a certain way to ourselves or our partners makes everything that much more difficult. Since navigating relationships is often challenging for most of us when we can encounter ourselves with kindness and compassion we can accept ourselves and others on a much deeper level.
Practice for making marriage mindful – RAD strategy
When we teach mindfulness, we talk about being on a journey to becoming RAD people. This RAD strategy can be used by individuals and couples. R is for Recognize. A is for Accept. D is for Decide.
Next time you are finding yourself challenged by a stressful life situation this affects or is caused by your marital relationship, try being RAD. For example, say your spouse has made a major life decision without consulting you. First, do not take it as an obvious sign of contempt. Refrain from any impulsive action.Recognize the need and ability in your partner to take a judicious decision in some personal matters. Accept that they are accountable for their action/decision and its consequences. Decide for yourself whether you want to agree to disagree or be on the same page and support your partner’s decision.
When we are able to see ourselves and our partners honestly, acknowledging when we are struggling or feeling pain, we can increase compassion for ourselves and our partners. When we learn to accept ourselves for how we are feeling ourselves or in the relationship, we are able to move through the challenges much more smoothly.