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Think for a moment about when you first started dating. What attracted you to your partner? What did s/he do that you really liked? What did you do together that made you feel close, that built a deep and strong connection?
When you thought about him or her in the early days, what fueled those thoughts? Did you imagine things the two of you had already done together, did you imagine watching her or him talking or laughing, or did you imagine what you were going to do together and how much fun it was going to be?
Do you remember thinking about him/her when you were at work or school, with others or alone, and how the time seemed to fly by? Do you recall getting so worked up about seeing her/him that you could barely stand it? Did you carry a picture of your partner and look at it feeling all warm and fuzzy?
What was it about him/her that made you think, “This is the person I want to be with.” What was it about him/her that helped you realize, “I really love this person.” What did you admire about her or him? What did s/he do that you really appreciated? What made you proud to be together, or made you proud to know him/her?
During those early days, we naturally think of things we like or love about our partners. The emotional connection is built and nourished by these thoughts. Our love blossoms as we devote our heart, mind, and soul to being together–even during those times when we have to be apart.
I’ve asked you to go down memory lane and you may be saying, “Yeah but that was a long time ago. Now we have kids, a mortgage, busy careers, and busy lives. How are we supposed to stay connected when it seems like the only time we get time together is when we’re sleeping?
In past blogs, I’ve talked about committed relationships and ways couples can rebuild or maintain connection:
I’ve mentioned ideas that can really make a difference in helping couples maintain that closeness. I asked you to go down memory lane above. I want you to consider now what kinds of thoughts fill your mind when you think of your partner today. Do you think about the things you really admire about him or her? Do you imagine the wonderful things you’re going to do together? Do you consider what makes you proud of him/her?
Sometimes, instead of thinking those glowing, loving thoughts, we might mull over past or current arguments. We can think about what it is about her/him that drives us around the bend. Sometimes we get ourselves so worked up about what a jerk s/he can be that when we actually see her/him, we want nothing to do with her/him. Emotional connection be damned!
As an experiment, pay attention to the thoughts you’re having about your partner when you’re apart. What do you choose to think about? Are you thinking about the things you love about him/her? Are you thinking about what makes you such good partners? Are you thinking about him/her at all? Or are you thinking about was s/he’s done or hasn’t done that pisses you off?
It may sound overly simplistic, but our thoughts about our partners when we’re apart can make a big difference. Do your thoughts nourish and sustain the love and friendship you feel for him/her, are you so busy that you don’t think anything about your relationship, or are your thoughts contributing to you feeling miles apart emotionally?
What do you think about the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, once said:
Our lives are what our thoughts make it.
Do you think it can apply to your relationship too? I’d love to hear your comments!