Being awake/conscious in your relationship:
– Asking for your needs to be met, by naming them directly and being unattached to the outcome
– Nudging into your partner’s resistance when they tell you they’re fine when you can tell that they’re hurting
– Becoming curious when you feel a challenging emotion (sadness, jealousy, anger, etc.) and having a desire to discover the real root issue of what is coming up for you
– Naming your emotional and sexual needs with clarity
– Making sex, and you and your partner’s pleasure, a priority
– Understanding that both you and your partner are each other’s best bullshit detectors and that you should use each other as such (to reality-test fears and assumptions you both will sometimes carry)
– Being willing to get some of your social and emotional needs met outside of your intimate relationship (i.e. having friends and hobbies/not expecting that one person should meet all of your needs flawlessly)
– Being willing to take full responsibility for your part in miscommunications that lead into arguments
– Saying yes when you want to, and saying no when you want to
– Being fully ready and willing to honour your partner’s no whenever you receive it, and not make it mean anything about you
– Staying in your centre, while also loving your partner with the full breadth and depth of your heart
If you notice yourself more in the second list, congratulations! You’re doing great. Keep up the good work. You can probably just stop reading this article now.
If you see yourself more in the former list, have no fear. It’s never too late to start being more mindful in your relationships.
Being conscious, or awake, in your relationship really comes down to being responsible for your mind, and intentional in how you love.
a) Being responsible for your mind
Being willing to be truly responsible for your mind is what really separates the people who want to be seen as doing the work to people who actually lean into their work.
It’s easy to project our shit on to our partner and make them the problem. What takes courage and real self-awareness is to constantly check in with where our relationship to ourselves (and to our lives) needs tending to and to take responsibility for what we discover.
b) Being intentional in how you love
It’s easy to put in no effort, watch a relationship deteriorate, and then blame the divorce rate, or the ‘seven-year itch’, or smartphones, or whatever lazy cop-out of an excuse the advertising giants are pumping out to the masses.
What takes real conscious work is putting in the effort every day to love them as they’ve never been loved before, and to simultaneously work towards being completely unguarded in the receiving of that same level of love from them.
If you want to slide the fader into the more conscious side of the spectrum, here are some things you can do starting today.
1. Become aware of, and be willing to verbalize, your relationship needs
What are the most significant needs you have that you predominantly (or exclusively) want to have met in your intimate relationship?
Perhaps you care a lot about playfulness. Or deep, stimulating conversation. Or extended lovemaking.
Whatever they are, you must first come to know yourself well enough to be aware of these needs, and then have the courage to explicitly name them to your partner.
If blurting your needs out at random times is too much for you, have a structured empty-the-bucket clearing exercise where you both respond to the question, “What else can I do for you to help you feel more loved?”, for 5-10 minutes straight. When the first partner is finished, the other person goes, until you both feel complete.