Mindfulness meditation for couples is a powerful tool to help you develop a loving and lasting relationship. Through mindfulness meditation you and your partner will be able to develop greater compassion–both for yourself and for your partner.
Mindfulness meditation can be practiced individually or as a couple. I recommend that you establish a meditation practice on your own as well as with your partner. This article describes how you and your partner can enjoy a meditation practice together.
Set Aside Time for Meditation for Couples
The very first step to practicing mindfulness meditation for couples is to create time and space for it. Life is busy. You have meetings and appointments that you mark on your calendar. You keep appointments everywhere you go. Schedule a time meditation with your partner and commit to being present. The time that you are setting aside is a gift that you are giving to yourselves and to each other.
You don’t need to set aside an hour for meditating together. I recommend twenty minutes, but it’s often best to start out shorter and build up. Even starting out at five minutes is a great exercise for your mind and heart.
Once you’ve both shown up and you’re ready to begin, create the proper environment for your meditation. The key is to eliminate distractions. Turn off your cell phone. You might want to light a candle, but you don’t have to.
You can sit in a chair or you can sit cross legged on the floor. The most important thing is that you are both comfortable. Since you’re meditating with your partner, it’s great to be near each other, but for this particular practice I recommend that you not touch one another. There are other specific guided meditation practices where I encourage couples to hold hands or to sit back-to-back, but in this particular mindfulness meditation practice, the key is to be able to attune yourself to what is going on within you, so that, through practice, you can both become more present to one another.
Settle Into Your Breath
Now that you and your partner are comfortable, close your eyes and begin to focus on your breath. Breathe through your nose. Breathe normally. Don’t try to inhale or exhale at a certain rhythm; just be with your breath as it is.
Your breath is your anchor to the present moment. It is what keeps bringing your mind back from its constant desire to stress about the future and regret the past. Every time your mind produces a thought, acknowledge that thought, but attach no story to it. Don’t follow the thread of the thought, just allow it to fade away. Gently come back to your breath.
It is as if your thoughts are written in sand on the beach. No need to judge what is written in the sand. Simply acknowledge what is there and allow each new breath to wash the beach clean.
If you feel emotions arise within you, acknowledge those emotions. Allow them to be. You might notice feelings of anger in your chest. You might notice feelings of anxiety tightening within you. You might feel sadness. Acknowledge these feelings but do not attach a story to them. In mindfulness meditation, you are simply observing. You’re not judging your experience, just noticing what comes up within you, accepting it, and letting it go. As you acknowledge emotions without attaching a story to them, you will likely feel the emotion dissipate.
As you hear sounds–like your partner breathing–just acknowledge those sounds without attaching a story to them. Hmm, I hear my partner breathing. I wonder what he is thinking about right now… It’s easy to get caught up in the chatter of the mind, and it’s ok if you do for a bit. When you catch yourself, gently come back to the physical sensation of the breath.
Don’t Worry, You’re Doing It Right
I talk to a lot of people who worry that they are not meditating properly. It’s interesting that as soon as we want to quiet the mind, the inner critic is quick to speak up. I’m not very good at this, says the Inner Critic. I’m doing this wrong. I bet my partner is way better at this than me. The key to mindfulness meditation for couples is to relax and accept.
Acknowledge your thoughts and let them go. Let the sound and feeling of your breath be your anchor to bring you back to this present moment. Don’t worry if your mind wanders away from your breath. This is simply another opportunity to practice bringing your attention back to your breath. Every time you catch your mind wandering, you’re getting to know your mind better and you’re becoming better equipped to remain in the present moment. Mindfulness meditation for couples is a practice. Practice bringing your awareness back to your breath. Accept that your mind will wander and when it does, there is no need to attach any story to the thought, just acknowledge it and come back to your breath.
What if I Fall Asleep?
The first time that Lindsey and I meditated together, we both fell asleep. It was lovely, healing sleep! It’s totally normal to fall asleep while meditating.
Lindsey and I learned that we were meditating too late in the evening. We needed to try earlier in the day. We were also sitting in chairs that were very soft and comfortable. By changing the time of day and the seating situation, we were able to remain awake during our meditation practices.
What Benefits Will Come from Meditating as a Couple
In my sessions with clients, I see a shift that takes place after a short session of mindfulness meditation for couples. Couples that meditate report a greater sense of wellbeing and a decrease in stress. Following a short session of mindfulness meditation, I find that couples are able to communicate much better. Where there had been anger and criticism, there is much more acceptance and compassion. Where there had been blame, there is more understanding.
Beginning to meditate together can open the door for intimate self-exploration and conversation. It is a quiet practice that begets calm and gentle conversation.
Mindfulness meditation for couples will help you and your partner understand what is going on within you. You will become aware of your thoughts and your emotions and how they are connected. You will begin to notice that only you are in charge of your emotions. Your partner cannot make you angry; only you can make you angry.
With practice, you will begin to feel closer to yourself and more in control of thought processes. Being in better touch with your own needs, you will be able to better communicate these to your partner, in a way that is compassionate and respectful.
The Gift of Meditating as a Couple
Investing your time and energy into a meditation for couples practice is a tremendous gift that you and your partner can give to each other. It builds compassion and fosters harmony.
To help you begin your meditation for couples practice together, you can download a free guided meditation practice by clicking here.