Any romantic partnership comes with its share of obstacles, frustrations and emotional difficulties. While some relationships are too toxic and unhealthy to benefit the people involved, for many of us relationships are fertile ground for self-improvement, and even self-fulfilment! When each individual is willing to put in the work to build a healthy and stable relationship, brick by brick, and is able to recognize where they need to heal without putting the onus on their partner to do the healing for them, relationships can be the most powerful way we learn to transcend the aspects of ourselves that no longer serve us and live a more openhearted and authentic life.
I admit openly that the first year of marriage was an absolute disaster for me and my husband. There was no shortage of misunderstandings, passive-aggressive behavior and feelings of mutual disappointment manifesting as anger. Key turning points had us make the conscious choice to work on ourselves and build the relationship anew from a place of individual wholeness—and that is the single reason I believe we were able to heal and live in harmony. The way my husband and I were able to surmount our greatest obstacles and achieve a loving relationship was through the power of meditation. Here are the five ways meditation helped us put our marriage on the right track.
- A dedicated meditation practice forces you to spend some time apart each day to recharge and view things with a wider lens. Anyone who has fought with a spouse or partner knows that the smallest and most ridiculous problem can turn into the most painful fight. Often, this happens when we react to each other and, unable to take a step back, reopen deep wounds by bringing up past issues and simmering resentments. The more inextricable two people are from each other, the more painful every instance of emotional distance or misunderstanding feels. Even five minutes of meditation a day gives you five minutes of personal space from which to view issues from a broader and wiser perspective.
- Meditating teaches you to separate your true self from passing thoughts and emotions. What would happen if you spoke out loud every passing thought you had to everyone? If you were brutally honest about everything, you’d probably hurt a lot of people for no reason. Not every thought is a true reflection of what you believe, and many thoughts are just reactions to perceived threats that aren’t there. “He said he’d call in five minutes and it’s been fifteen! He must be cheating on me!” “Did she just give me a look?! We were never going to work this thing out!” These and similar thoughts are momentary reflections of our past wounds and often have little relationship to the reality in front of us. By meditating, you learn that many contradicting thoughts pass through your mind each and every minute of the day, and you begin to discern what is truly you and what is just reactive and meaningless inner chatter.
- Meditating helps you uncover what within you needs healing. A very important lesson my husband and I learned is that, as long as each person is working on their own wounds consistently without expecting the other to solve all their problems, the relationship will grow and blossom. The minute one person blames the other and victimizes themselves, picks apart the other’s flaws, expects the other to accommodate their wounds or heal them without understanding that the only person who can heal a wound is the person suffering from it, that’s when a relationship is bound to develop unhealthy patterns. For this reason, meditation works wonderfully as a self-regulating process that helps you discover on a daily basis wounds that aren’t healed on the physical, mental, emotional and even spiritual level. By tuning in, you learn what needs care and maintenance, which will ultimately help the care and maintenance of your relationship.
- Meditating diffuses stress. Stressed people who have no healthy outlet tend to take their stress out on their loved ones. We tend to be crueler to those closest and most beloved to us than anyone else in the world. We will yell at our partners in a way we would never yell at a friend, colleague, acquaintance or even a stranger. One reason for this is that, having achieved a certain level of safety in the relationship, we subconsciously believe that our bad behavior will be tolerated and we won’t suffer consequences like we would at work or in public. But the truth is those choices inflict wounds that evolve into longstanding resentments. Tolerating stressful outbursts is also an implicit agreement that unhealthy and hurtful behaviors are valid in your relationship. Meditating helps you breathe deeper, release physical, emotional and mental tensions and allows you to center yourself whenever you’re overwhelmed, all of which reduces stress immensely. Meditation is an extremely healthy outlet for your stress and frustrations, leaving you to enjoy your spouse’s company rather than alienate your partner in a poor attempt to offload your frustrations at work.
- Meditation teaches you about harmony. This may be the most difficult point to understand on this list, but it is arguably the most important. Long-term meditation gives you a perspective on the world that is hard to gain otherwise. This perspective is that the world, with all the good and bad within it, ultimately operates in harmony with itself. What we deem bad in one moment becomes the first step to our greatest happiness with hindsight. What we deem a good decision today we later learn prevented us from growing as individuals. Meditation gives you a broader perspective on life as a whole and it teaches you the most valuable lesson of marriage and long-term partnership: you can let things go and things will still be okay. We often find it difficult to let things go because we think it means implicit acceptance of something we don’t like. But you can learn to release the emotional charge of something without implicitly accepting something that hurts you. You can openly discuss a harmful behavior in your marriage while also letting go of that behavior’s hold on you. In this way, meditation teaches you to work towards harmony and not perfection. You learn that you alone are in charge of how you feel and that becoming a unit with another person can be a source of great peace if you allow it to be.
Do you meditate regularly? Has it benefitted your relationships with others? Let us know in the comments below!
Check out Akasha’s Fire Element for guided meditations on healing and cultivating openhearted love in your life.
Want to learn to meditate from scratch? Join our #MeditatewithAkasha challenge on Instagram beginning this Feb. 1st!