Quantcast
Interstitial_nl_psych

Conscious Coupling: 10 Lessons for Lasting Love

If you go into a relationship with mindful determination, you shouldn't have to figure out how to "uncouple."

conscious coupling

All the hype over Gwenyth Paltrow’s “conscious uncoupling,” (i.e. mindful divorce) got me thinking: What if we all spent more time investing in conscious coupling instead? Conscious, as in knowing what you need in a mate, mindful in how you show up in your relationship, open to learning how to communicate respectfully and intentional in action. Up front—before the wedding.

This is a question weighing heavily on my mind because last week, I got engaged! We are blissfully happy, but here’s the thing: This is Round 2 for both of us. When I got married the first time, at the ripe age of 23, my engagement was not about preparing for a marriage, but about planning a wedding. It was beautiful! I wore a satin princess gown, had eight bridesmaids and danced all night with 250 of our closest friends. Weeks later, though, he and I found ourselves in our new home fighting over who would manage the finances and how much family time we each wanted. Three months into our marriage, we first used the word “divorce” and three years later, we split.

It’s been 13 years since then. Thirteen years of getting to know me, love me and following my dreams. It’s been incredible getting to know myself and gain independence. But I also created walls to block me from depending on someone else.  

My fiancé has been talking about marriage since we met, but I was afraid that if I got married again I’d lose myself, the me I’d spent all these years getting to know. But recently I realized, it’s not a question of me or us. In learning to live more purposefully for myself, I’ve also become more open, more impactful and more loving to everyone around me—including my man. Ours has been truly a conscious coupling, and that gives me complete confidence that we are going to make it, divorce statistics be damned.

Here are 10 conscious coupling tips I’ve learned along this crazy, bumpy, fantastic ride:

Know yourself first.
What are you all about? What are your core values? What guiding principles lead your life? Follow your life philosophy first and only accept lovers who value the same.

Love yourself.
They say that you can’t love someone else until you love yourself first. Plus, why should others love you if you don’t love yourself? It’s cliché and true. All of the traveling, moving cities and mindless dating I did while single were all in search of a happy, perfect life out there. What I really needed was to feel worthy inside. I can honestly now say that I love and accept myself for who I am. Please do the same.

Know the kind of love and support that you need.
Do you need a lot of together time? Do you need verbal reinforcement? Do you need lots of physical affection? Know this and find someone who meets this or is wiling to learn. For a great tool to learn the kind of love you need, check out Love Languages by Richard Chapman.

Be conscious of the best partner for you. Not the handsomest or richest.
Too many women I know make a “perfect checklist” for a guy and usually everyone’s lists are identical: funny, cute, tall, blah, blah. Been there, done that with my ex and it didn’t last. Instead, ask yourself how you want to feel in a relationship. Right before meeting my fiancé, I said I wanted to feel adored for my quirks, cherished for who I am, and enamored with how my mate was impacting the world. My man is a middle school teacher who skipped down the street with me after we found a bakery that only sells muffin tops. Check, check, check.

Learn from every relationship you’ve ever had.
That includes your relationships with your parents, siblings, friends and exes. Each has a powerful lesson. I learned how important communication was and am now in a relationship in which we complement each other’s communication styles. Together, we gently push and support each other to create open dialogue.

Love your partner every day with intention.
Don’t just ask how his day was; care to hear the answer. Be as interested in each other’s well-being and as invested in each other’s dreams as you are in your own. Create rituals like clinking your juice glasses and kissing in the morning, sharing gratitudes at the end of the day or leaving each other notes when you leave town.

Keep romance high. Being attracted physically is hugely important.
And until you try, you never know what may attract you. My man is shorter than me and if I hadn’t given him a chance, I’d be missing out on great sex and a great life. And attraction at deeper levels, to each other’s minds, hearts and wisdom, makes sex 10 times better.

Be a team. Talk about everything.
Know the other has your back and build trust so that you can each provide constructive feedback that helps the other grow and live to his or her full potential. Be conscious of your impact as a couple. You are a unit that can benefit your family, your community and the world at large.

Remain conscious, even when it’s hard.
Know that every day will not be wedding cakes and bliss. Rather, you’ll get annoyed with each other’s habits and inevitably life will throw challenges your way. Decide in advance how you’ll handle challenge. I recommend you check out the work of relationship counselor Sheryl Paul to help you remain grounded in reality.

Forgive yourself and each other when you (inevitably) forget to be conscious.
We are, after all, only human.

MORE: What Kind of Love Are You In?

conscious coupling

All the hype over Gwenyth Paltrow’s “conscious uncoupling,” (i.e. mindful divorce) got me thinking: What if we all spent more time investing in conscious coupling instead? Conscious, as in knowing what you need in a mate, mindful in how you show up in your relationship, open to learning how to communicate respectfully and intentional in action. Up front—before the wedding.

This is a question weighing heavily on my mind because last week, I got engaged! We are blissfully happy, but here’s the thing: This is Round 2 for both of us. When I got married the first time, at the ripe age of 23, my engagement was not about preparing for a marriage, but about planning a wedding. It was beautiful! I wore a satin princess gown, had eight bridesmaids and danced all night with 250 of our closest friends. Weeks later, though, he and I found ourselves in our new home fighting over who would manage the finances and how much family time we each wanted. Three months into our marriage, we first used the word “divorce” and three years later, we split.

It’s been 13 years since then. Thirteen years of getting to know me, love me and following my dreams. It’s been incredible getting to know myself and gain independence. But I also created walls to block me from depending on someone else.  

My fiancé has been talking about marriage since we met, but I was afraid that if I got married again I’d lose myself, the me I’d spent all these years getting to know. But recently I realized, it’s not a question of me or us. In learning to live more purposefully for myself, I’ve also become more open, more impactful and more loving to everyone around me—including my man. Ours has been truly a conscious coupling, and that gives me complete confidence that we are going to make it, divorce statistics be damned.

Here are 10 conscious coupling tips I’ve learned along this crazy, bumpy, fantastic ride:

Know yourself first.
What are you all about? What are your core values? What guiding principles lead your life? Follow your life philosophy first and only accept lovers who value the same.

Love yourself.
They say that you can’t love someone else until you love yourself first. Plus, why should others love you if you don’t love yourself? It’s cliché and true. All of the traveling, moving cities and mindless dating I did while single were all in search of a happy, perfect life out there. What I really needed was to feel worthy inside. I can honestly now say that I love and accept myself for who I am. Please do the same.

Know the kind of love and support that you need.
Do you need a lot of together time? Do you need verbal reinforcement? Do you need lots of physical affection? Know this and find someone who meets this or is wiling to learn. For a great tool to learn the kind of love you need, check out Love Languages by Richard Chapman.

Be conscious of the best partner for you. Not the handsomest or richest.
Too many women I know make a “perfect checklist” for a guy and usually everyone’s lists are identical: funny, cute, tall, blah, blah. Been there, done that with my ex and it didn’t last. Instead, ask yourself how you want to feel in a relationship. Right before meeting my fiancé, I said I wanted to feel adored for my quirks, cherished for who I am, and enamored with how my mate was impacting the world. My man is a middle school teacher who skipped down the street with me after we found a bakery that only sells muffin tops. Check, check, check.

Learn from every relationship you’ve ever had.
That includes your relationships with your parents, siblings, friends and exes. Each has a powerful lesson. I learned how important communication was and am now in a relationship in which we complement each other’s communication styles. Together, we gently push and support each other to create open dialogue.

Love your partner every day with intention.
Don’t just ask how his day was; care to hear the answer. Be as interested in each other’s well-being and as invested in each other’s dreams as you are in your own. Create rituals like clinking your juice glasses and kissing in the morning, sharing gratitudes at the end of the day or leaving each other notes when you leave town.

Keep romance high. Being attracted physically is hugely important.
And until you try, you never know what may attract you. My man is shorter than me and if I hadn’t given him a chance, I’d be missing out on great sex and a great life. And attraction at deeper levels, to each other’s minds, hearts and wisdom, makes sex 10 times better.

Be a team. Talk about everything.
Know the other has your back and build trust so that you can each provide constructive feedback that helps the other grow and live to his or her full potential. Be conscious of your impact as a couple. You are a unit that can benefit your family, your community and the world at large.

Remain conscious, even when it’s hard.
Know that every day will not be wedding cakes and bliss. Rather, you’ll get annoyed with each other’s habits and inevitably life will throw challenges your way. Decide in advance how you’ll handle challenge. I recommend you check out the work of relationship counselor Sheryl Paul to help you remain grounded in reality.

Forgive yourself and each other when you (inevitably) forget to be conscious.
We are, after all, only human.

MORE: What Kind of Love Are You In?

Smart is sexy - get our newsletter:

Comments on this Article (0) | Leave a Comment

Loading…
Let's hang out
Nl-signup-mind
CONTACT US