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How to Bring Heartfulness Into Your Marriage

We often hear the words “mindfulness” and “compassion” as interchangeable, positive attributes to embody and integrate into our lives. Although complimentary, mindfulness and compassion are not the same.

Mindfulness is about maintaining a moment-to-moment awareness and acceptance of your thoughts, feelings, physiology, and surrounding environment. When we talk about mindfulness, we also hear the term “loving kindness.”

So, what do these words really mean, how are they interwoven, and why is practicing them within marriage so important?

As Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D. explains, “In Asian languages, the word for ‘mind’ and the word for ‘heart’ are the same. So, if you’re not hearing mindfulness in some deep way as heartfulness, you’re not really understanding it. Compassion and kindness towards oneself are intrinsically woven into it. You could think of mindfulness as wise and affectionate attention.”

Simply put, by practicing mindfulness and compassion, you powerfully bring your heart and mind together as one.

Mindfulness in marriage is about being receptive to your relationship experience and being present without judgment, while loving kindness and compassion are about embracing the fact you want to be free of pain and suffering and that your true wish is to alleviate yourself, as well as others, from this suffering.

Why Do You Need Heartfulness?
So, why do you need heartfulness – that melding of mindfulness and compassion – in your relationship? Because relationships are hard! Applying heartfulness in your marriage can help you, as Dr. John Gottman explains, to soften your startup. You are more able to be present, aware, and attentive of what you communicate and how it impacts your partner when you are talking to them. Practicing this on a daily basis helps you to see things clearer, view interactions through a lens of kindness rather than judgment, and act with calm wisdom instead of reacting. Softening the startup of your communications with your partner in this way will lead to a more stable and happy relationship.

The Benefits of Heartfulness
Approaching your marriage with heartfulness will produce numerous long-term benefits. Here are a few of the positive effects it can have on you and your spouse:

• The ability to handle difficult emotions with greater ease
• New perspectives on stressful situations
• More fluid communications
• Improved emotional well-being
• Transformation of your potentially difficult relationship

Integrating Heartfulness Into Your Marriage
The key to being heartful is to actively listen to your partner with an open heart and without judgment. Instead of thinking of the next thing that you’re going to say, be present and compassionate to what your partner is going through and what they are trying to communicate. The only way to do this is to step out of your own story so that you can fully take in and acknowledge what your partner is experiencing.

Now, I’m not saying that stepping out of your story is easy. By human nature, we’re all susceptible to falling prey to our own self-defeating narratives. Getting unstuck from this place takes yet another level of heartfulness – one that is focused inward.

I’ve certainly experienced the challenge of focusing heartfulness inward. There were times in my marriage where I became frustrated and critical with my late husband, Steve, saying things to him that could have been delivered more mindfully. Luckily, he dabbled in eastern practices and psychology himself, so when he saw I was triggered he had the wisdom to gently guide me towards having more self-compassion. In these instances, Steve would remind me to get in touch with my feelings and say, “Why don’t you take a moment and give yourself some compassion and then we can revisit and talk about what’s bothering you a bit later?”

Stepping back and changing my attitude towards myself first allowed me to calm down. I could then, in turn, be more trusting toward my husband and move forward communicating more openly.

The next time your buttons get pushed, or you start to blame your partner for something, take the opportunity to give yourself some compassion first. Then, after you are calmly refocused, make the space and effort to re-focus some of that compassion and kindness on your partner.

Heartful Affirmations
Practicing heartfulness can be as simple as expressing loving kindness and compassion through short and thoughtful affirmations. The next time you are upset, try saying the following out loud:

To yourself:
• “I am filled with loving kindness.”
• “I am safe and protected.”
• “I will get through this.”
• “I accept myself just the way I am.”

To your partner:
• “May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you find peace.”
• “May you accept yourself just as you are.”
• “May you be filled with loving kindness.”
• “May you live with ease and peace.”

The key is to find affirmations that resonate with you. Say these phrases softly, with a spirit of kindness towards yourself and your partner. Adopting a spirit of caring and kindness will make you feel more connected and most likely trigger a significant shift in your relationship. This shift will cause new pathways of understanding to open up, making you feel cared for, connected, safe, and protected.

Whatever your experience, commit to moving forward with mindful acceptance. Practice non-judgment and remember to extend equal amounts of compassion to your partner and yourself. Even though you may not always agree with or even understand what your partner is saying, integrating heartfulness into your marriage will enable you to be compassionate with each other in times of struggle and embrace the imperfections of your relationship with loving-kindness. Collectively, this is a powerful force for overcoming the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse – criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.

As you can see, injecting your marriage with heartfulness – that powerful blend of mindfulness and compassion, towards your partner and yourself – doesn’t have to be complicated.  As Dr. Gottman says, “It’s the small things done often that make the difference!”

 

Resource: Gottman Blog

Working Out as a Couple: Tips for the Busy Two-Some

Home-Exercising

Sometimes your work life and at-home life make it hard to get quality, healthy time together. Couples often spend their quality time watching television, eating out or just having a few chats. But, often the best way to spend time together is working out. Working out has its own benefits, such as improving your body function, making you feel happier and of course, it gives you that additional sex appeal that every long-term relationship needs to keep going. If you’re ready to get hot and heavy, but not under the sheets, consider these couple workouts for a great, healthy way to spend time with one another.

Get Outside

It may be snowing, but that’s no reason to not get outside and work out. You don’t have to go jogging in the snow, but why not take a day to go to the slopes. Snowboarding and skiing are great full-body workouts, but they’re also a fun, relaxing way to enjoy the day with your significant other. If you don’t have the gear, you can always rent it.

Take the Family

Sometimes a family outing is still fun for you as a couple. Bond with your spouse and your kids by taking everyone sledding. You’ll burn calories from hiking up the hill over and over, and everyone will enjoy the rush they get flying back down.

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brain-and-sex

The Female Orgasm: It’s the Brain, Not the Body

Without a doubt, the physical aspect of sex feels good, and the orgasms can be phenomenal. Still, when a woman has trouble achieving an orgasm, she can feel extremely unsatisfied with her sex life, and herself. In fact, not having orgasms can cause a drop in the female libido.  In addition, if that is not bad enough, her partner might think they are doing something wrong between the sheets, preventing that fiery release. The truth of the matter, however, is that the inability to achieve an orgasm is caused by many factors. Understanding these factors, as well as how orgasms really happen, can help you and your partner to find ways to make your sex life far more satisfying.

Why Can’t I Have an Orgasm?!

There are many reasons why a woman may not be achieving an orgasm during sexual intercourse.

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relationship-advice

What Makes Relationships Work: Relationship Advice 101

To achieve optimum physical and emotional health, we must have rewarding and enjoyable relationships in all locales of our lives. Humans function best when they have an understanding and accommodating relationship environment. Single people search for the ideal mate, and those who have a partner seek ways to make the relationship work. This relationship advice allows you to nurture your relationship and find a balance in your life so you and your mate will be better satisfied.

Rules, Roles, and Rituals

Many of society’s social and cultural rules and taboos have already been broken down. Some of these guidelines are not even feasible for a multi-cultural society, much less a modern relationship. However, to have emotional security and safety in our relationship, we must have boundaries and rules. For many couples, relationship needs go unstated, leaving one or the other partner guessing. An principal rule to have is that each person expresses what is needed from the other. Another rule that is a crucial part of this relationship advice is that you respect what your partner requires, compromising when necessary and negotiating when possible.

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Are Separate Beds the Key to a Happy Marriage?

A study released by England s Daily Mail stated that thirteen percent of British married couples slept in their own beds. This sparked a controversial debate about whether or not separate beds were the key to a happy marriage. What is important to realize is that separate beds mean no intimacy. So does sleeping apart create a happy couple?

 

Though it sounds like a good theory, especially since the happy households of the 1950s featured two parents happy to sleep apart, the fact of the matter is that sleeping in two beds takes away one very important factor in a happy marriage: intimacy.

 

Intimacy is Not Sex

What a lot of couples seem to confuse is the distinction between sex and intimacy. Sex refers to intercourse between a couple, while intimacy is a broader term that encompasses touching, cuddling and physical contact; intimacy is not always sexual in nature.

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The Many Benefits Of Breastfeeding, and It’s Great Importance…


By Melissa Eliyahoo – 
Isn’t it the goal of every new mom, to be willing to do everything it takes, to insure that the health of their newborn is going to be the best that it can be?!

 

Most new moms don’t realize the true importance of breastfeeding, and all the great benefits that go along with it.  There are many reasons why breastfeeding is so important, one of the main ones being the amazing nutrition your little one gets.  Breastfeeding can not only build your baby’s immune system but also prevent them from an array of many diseases later on in life.   As well as nutrition, breastfeeding creates a beautiful bonding experience between mother and baby, which is extremely important for your little one to feel nurtured and loved, and great for emotional health.   Of course it can definitely be easy to get discouraged as a new mom, sometimes it may feel like the baby isn’t eating enough, or you are not producing enough but a lot of the time this is not the case.

 

In an article in the journal of pediatrics it says “only a third of the mothers who plan on exclusively breastfeeding for 3 months actually do it”.  It is unfortunate because breast milk really is the best nutrition for an infant, it is what they are meant to have.  Natures perfect food, in every way!  This study also continues to say that mothers are more likely to continue breastfeeding if the hospitals don’t give the babies formula.  It turns out that 78% of US hospitals routinely give formula to healthy breastfeeding infants.  Mothers are mistakenly led to believe that formula does very well as a replacement for breast milk, but it definitely does not! Nothing can duplicate the properties of breast milk, no matter how many vitamins minerals and supplements are added to what is basically a chemical formulation.  Breast Milk is the one and only natural, complete and complex nutrition for human infants, and it is important to be sure to feed babies breast milk for at least the first year of life.

 

Why exactly is breast milk so much more beneficial that formula? 

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