image being present in your relationship

It is such a busy life, especially in the middle. There is always too much to do and not enough time. Yet we all have all the time there is, 24 hours every day. What we choose to do in those 24 hours defines our lives.

When couples come to see us, more often than not, feeling overwhelmed and overburdened is an issue. We try to get it all done, check off everything on the list, only to have another list the next day.

I’ll never forget my last visit with my grandmother before she died. I was about 22 years old. I entered her room at the nursing home. She was lying peacefully in her bed. Her eyes were closed. She was not able to communicate. I’m not even sure she knew I was there. I sat next to her for a while, and then noticed on her small desk in that room was a “to-do” list. Ninety years old and she still had a list. It made me think about life. Are we more human “doings” or human “beings”?

After Bob and I had kids, I felt like a human “doing” much of the time. But I was aware of it. Bob and I carved out times to be human beings, to be present in our relationship.

We set aside an hour and a half every week on Fridays to go get sushi and honey hot tea at our favorite place. We committed to each other that this was our “sacred” time unless a family member was ill or in the hospital. At least once a week we were together, “being.” And by that, I mean, we were fully present in our relationship – no cell phones, no kids, no distractions. Just the two of us having conversation and being fully aware of each other and engaged in our relationship.

Those were great times. As the kids launched it has become easier to find more time to be present together.

So, what does “being” fully present in your relationship mean?

It’s when you and your partner consciously create times where you are each other’s focus, where you pay full attention and give full energy to one another, where your thoughts and feelings are the only things you are attending to, where you face each other, have lots of eye contact and appreciate the moment, where you slow life down to pause and appreciate the person you are with.

How often after you fully present with your partner?

Talk to him/her about it.

For more on this subject

Charnita Arora lectures on mindfulness and emotional intelligence. Check out her TED Talk: The Missing Piece in our Relationships.

We would love to hear your thoughts about this on our Facebook page.

If you are in a relationship that hurts and feel disconnected, have difficulties communicating, and/or are experiencing a crisis, Bob and I can help. Call us at 410-363-2825 or email

Photo by Jose Escobar on Unsplash