My husband would laugh if he knew I was writing about ways to be more present in your relationship. He is always telling me to put my phone down when he trying to tell me something or to pause the Real Housewives to get my attention. I always tell him “I’m a woman, I’m a master multi-tasker!” The truth is, our lives are cluttered with distractions all day every day and although maybe unintentionally they can effect our relationships. It takes real effort to be present. Here are some tips to be more present in your relationship:
Put the phone down.
This may seem like an obvious one but I cannot tell you how many times we’ve been at a restaurant and see couples sitting there both on their phones and not engaging with each other for the entirety of the meal. I get it, it’s hard these days with social media but when you are spending quality time with your partner you have to make an effort to put the phone down and actually connect with each other. If it’s a real problem for one or both of you, maybe try putting some rules or boundaries on phone usage during date nights or any quality time together. If it’s an every day thing where one of you feels the other isn’t listening when they are on their phone (ahem, me), try to turn your phone upside down when your partner is talking to you and look them in the eye so they know they have your attention.
Life is crazy and so busy. We have endless to do lists and millions of errands to run and life to take care of. Scheduling time to be alone together is key for keeping your relationship healthy. Prioritizing and planning ahead to make sure you spend quality time together is essential. If you don’t have the time, you can still plan ahead. If you know you have 5 days in a row of non stop work and commitments, think about ways to show your partner you’re thinking of them. That way when you are smack in the middle of the that week, you already have note written out that you can sneak into their car. Plan ahead so your busy life doesn’t pass you by and one day you realize that
Saying no is okay.
This one is in the same vein as planning ahead but I wanted to make it it’s own category because the older I get the more and more this one is valuable to me. If something doesn’t bring you joy and make you happy and it’s a time suck, say no. Before I started dating my now husband, I would say yes to everything. If I was asked to go, I was there… early with bells on. But the older I get, the more I value my free time. Not only time by myself but the amount of time I get to spend with my husband, alone, is important to me. If I am over committing myself and feeling like I haven’t had time with my husband in days, I’ll change plans or clear my upcoming days to be able to have some time with him. Our relationship is my top priority so if that means saying no to something every now and then so I have the time and energy to put into my relationship, I’m good with it.
Being a good listener is actually a skill and skills need to be practiced. According to Tony Robins Fire Walk, “There are four key components of deep listening that will enable you to be more present: maintaining eye contact, providing nonverbal feedback, using body language to establish a connection and focusing your mind on the conversation at hand.” Give your partner your undivided attention and listen well. You chose this person as “the one” and they deserve to have your complete focus.
Stay in the moment.
It’s easy at times to dwell on the past or to focus on the uncertainties of the future. It’s human nature and at times it can be hard to get out of thoughts but we have to make an effort to focus on the now. Try to stay in the moment when you are spending time with your partner and leave the past in the past. Don’t think about all the possible scenarios that could happen in the future, focus on what you are feeling now.