Mindfulness can save a relationship
In my recent blog, “The Many Benefits of Mindfulness,” I outlined how a mindfulness practice has been scientifically proven to improve our mental and physical health.
The win-win effects of incorporating mindfulness into your life just seem to keep growing and expanding, interweaving into every area of our lives. Mindfulness practice doesn’t just enhance our individual well-being. In fact, it’s now being shown to have a positive impact on interpersonal relationships. \
A 2004 University of North Carolina study of “relative happy, nondistressed couples” showed that couples who practiced mindfulness saw improvements to their “relationship happiness.” In addition, they experienced healthier levels of “relationship stress, stress coping efficacy, and overall stress.”
Mindfulness is a skill we can acquire, a compassionate practice we can integrate into our lives, allowing us to have an easy, always available, method to calm ourselves down when distressed.
Mindfulness increases our awareness of what we are experiencing and allows us the space to decide how we want to act in our daily lives. It is easy to picture how enhancing these abilities within ourselves would lead to better outcomes in our relationships.
Imagine, for example, being triggered by your partner. Picture yourself in that heated moment when everything just feels overwhelmingly wrong: anger is bubbling over inside you, combined with intense distress.
Now imagine being able to feel your emotions without reacting in the moment. Imagine observing the emotions and thoughts that are arising without getting caught up in them — being able to keep your emotional balance.
This allows you to think about how you would like to respond in the situation vs. how you would instinctively react. Mindfulness is a means by which we can get to know our thoughts and stay connected to our feelings without falling victim to inappropriate, intense reactions based on unresolved issues from our past.
When it comes to leftover emotional pain from our earliest relationships, no one will trigger us like our romantic partner. How many times have you found yourself saying something in a moment of distress that you later deeply regret? How is it we find ourselves lashing out at the person we value the most? Ironically, our closest relationships tend to present us with the biggest challenges in our lives. New connections stir up old feelings from our past.
Relationships test us in many ways, redefining how we see ourselves and the world around us. In addition to bringing us joy, finding love can cause us a great deal of anxiety and sadness. In romantic relationships, we make ourselves vulnerable to the good will of our relationship partner. Our fears of being hurt in this vulnerable state can make us more reactive, and we run the risk of self-sabotaging, not acting in our best interest in relation to the ones we love.
Mindfulness presents a valuable tool for facing the daily challenges of staying close to our partner. It allows us to become more centered and calm, so we can talk things out instead of spiraling into a screaming match. When we are on the defensive with our partner, overreacting to every word they say, we fail to really hear what’s going on with them. What are they experiencing? What has triggered their upset? What are they really saying to us or asking of us?
A typical conversation between a couple may involve one partner remarking, “You used to be up for anything. You were so lively when we met.” This may spark a defensive response in the other partner: “What? You’re saying I’m not spontaneous anymore? You think I’m boring? What about you? You never get off the couch!” This type of angry and accusatory response tends to have a snowball effect. “I never said you were boring, and now you’re calling me lazy? I work day and night to make you happy. You’re so ungrateful.”
Couples tend to key off each other when they are triggered. In that “flipped lid” state, their resentments toward each other start to spill out. At this point, the higher functions of their brain are offline and the emotional centers are firing out of control. Strong, exaggerated, hostile statements fly back and forth. Yet, if either could be more mindful in the interaction, they would take pause before responding. They could notice that they are triggered and angry and then choose to do something else, take a break and do an activity that will help them calm down. This may mean taking a few deep breaths or a long walk.
This will allow them to get their “lid” back on and react in a more constructive manner. It’s important to take time to reflect, to notice the feelings but to consciously choose how we deal with them. This frees us to take actions in our own self-interest and to not cause our partner unnecessary hurt. Once we have centered ourselves and calmed down, we can communicate clearly and from the heart.
Mindfulness isn’t about denying or burying our emotions.
It’s simply about cultivating a different relationship to our feelings and experiences, in which we are in the driver’s seat. We can see our feelings and thoughts like a passing train roaring through the station, but we alone choose if we want to get on board.
When we learn to observe our experiences in this manner, our thoughts and feelings start to flow through us like waves, but as mindfulness expert Dr. Donna Rockwell points out, we can feel solid like a mountain in who we are and how we respond. As Dr. Rockwell said in her recent interview for PsychAlive.org, “What mindfulness does is it creates this space; it takes us out of the catastrophe. And as a couple working together in a mindfulness way … there’s a lot more heart available. There’s a lot more understanding possible than this need to defend.”
Meditation is an extremely effective way to get to know our thoughts by slowing down and paying attention. It helps us become familiar with our mind. Ultimately, it allows us to recognize the many “critical inner voices” that, without us even knowing it, we would typically allow to rule our lives. As we get to know these “voices,” we can start to act against them, not permitting them to color our perceptions of ourselves or our partner.
When we know ourselves, we become stronger in our relationships. As mindfulness expert Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn notes, mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment on purpose and without judgment. If we stay in the moment with our partners, we are far less likely to build a case against them, to catalog their flaws or turn against them at the drop of a hat. Instead, we can take each moment as it comes. We can cultivate empathy, insight, and morality within ourselves and extend these compassionate attitudes to those we love.
As we become more mindful, we achieve a greater sense of inner peace that is beneficial to us and the world around us, especially the people close to us. We alleviate the unhealthy levels of stress and tension that we carry with us in our daily lives. In addition, as we exercise the muscle of putting our attention where we want it, we gain more power over our thoughts, but even more so over our actions.
When we find someone we care for, a person with whom we know that, whatever each of us brings to the table, our relationship is worth working on, then half the battle is won.
Mindfulness practices will better enable you to truly go after what you want, not only in your relationship, but in your personal goals. It’s an ongoing practice that can help you to become the person you want to be every day for the rest of your life.
Love & relationship advice at http://www.lovespellsx.co.za
Why men really cheat
Cheating men have been the cornerstones of conversations for generations upon generations. Many women are victim to these tendencies by men, which begs the question over and over again, why do men really cheat?
Here are the reasons:
*Mfundo Jele, 26, says he cheated because he wasn’t getting any from the long-term girlfriend he was engaged to.
“I cheated on my fiancée with another woman because we were not intimate with one another. She wanted to wait for marriage. It’s not that I did not love her, I just wanted to fulfill other needs that she wasn’t ready to meet,” Jele says.
*Kgotso Malumane cheated because he wanted to break off a long-term relationship with his girlfriend so he could get caught.
“It’s hard to break off a long term relationship when there is no more spark. Instead of being honest with my ex about the fact that I wasn’t happy, I cheated on her deliberately. I regret it till today.”
Car wash owner *Tshepo Mbatha cheats on his woman because he loves to have sex with different women.
“I’m happy with my woman…but I love sex and I want to have with different gorgeous women. To me that’s not cheating because I don’t fall in love with these women. I tell them that I’m involved, what I want is pleasure from them.
“There’s no right or wrong answer about why men cheat. They cheat because sex flows in their mind night and day,” Mbhatha adds.
Graphic designer, *Fezidindo Mpembe, 24, says men can never be satisfied.
“Men cheat to feel empowered, to gain an advantage over whatever insecurities they may have, sometimes we do it to feed the greed of lust and because at times we can. They are sometimes not satisfied with whatever they should be getting, be it sex, love, emotional attachment,” says Mpembe.
Thandiso Cele says he cheated because he was tempted by the opposite sex.
“Yoh, I was the most loyal person to my woman. I loved my wife with all my heart. I did everything for her. I kiss her every day, three times a day. We are great together. There was no problem. Until one day this woman who worked with me started throwing herself at me with no shame whatsoever. She was hot. It took me a long time to ignore her until one day we were both drunk at a party and she was all over me. I forgot that the word NO ever existed. It was on!. Since then I never looked back. I have tasted the sweeter apple…”
However unlike others that base cheating on lust, *Samkelo Langa blames society for men’s lack of faithfulness to women.
“Society allows us to cheat. We are raised to never trust a woman but to be superior to them. We are to think as men. We have a right to cheat and women need to understand. They often do because when we are caught we are forgiven, he says. Langa also adds that men do not need a reason to cheat.
“Instinctively a man will cheat, we can have ‘wonderwoman’ for a wife or girlfriend but don’t mean a thing. It’s a selfish habit.”
*Lebogang Moeng says that he believed he was always infecting his girlfriend with bladder infections after they had sex everytime, so he couldn’t bear to watch her suffer.
“The morning after we would have sex, she would get a bladder infection, and it hurt me to see her go through so much pain. I knew i was the cause of it, as the pattern was quite obvious. Maybe she was allergic to my sperms or something. Even the condoms didn’t help. So I found another woman who was not so sensitive.”
Brandon Mcleod, Marketing Manager at Brand On, blames social media for playing a role in distracting men.
“There are too many social media distractions that open up space for secrecy in a relationship. Men flirt with the people they chat to and go as far as exchanging numbers because they know that their women don’t have access to their private space.”
Rawknait artist manager Songi Stylez says he believes men cheat because they are used to it.
“Men are also not good with commitment. The girl we cheat with obviously offers us something that the girlfriend failed to offer. It’s simple. We have no self control because we lust.
So ladies, there you have it. if you have ever had a man cheating on you, don’t beat yourself up by thinking that you are not sexy, not beautiful or not smart. It’s Of course we know women are just as guilty, so we would love to hear from the women about why they cheat on their men, so we can inform the guys out there.
Let’s hear it….
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of our sources.
Facts about movies you wont believe
1. The word “Vader” is Dutch for “Father.”
2. E.T.’s face was inspired by poet Carl Sandburg, Albert Einstein, and a pug dog.
3. Did you know that the cop in Hook was actually Phil Collins?
4. The line “Play it again, Sam” is never actually said in the movie Casablanca, despite what pop culture tells you.
5. The scene in It’s a Wonderful Life where George is about to jump off the bridge was filmed in 90-degree weather. That’s why James Stewart is visibly sweating, even though it’s “snowing” in the scene.
6. In the end credits of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, there is a blurb that states, “No dragons were harmed in the making of this movie.”
7. In The Wizard of Oz, Toto was paid $125 a week.
8. The original Space Jam website hasn’t been updated since 1996.
9. The Dark Knight was the first Batman movie not to have “Batman” in its title.
10. Ferris Bueller’s parents in the movie got married in real life after they met each other on set!
11. The DeLorean in Back to the Future was almost going to be a fridge.
12. When Pierce Brosnan was under contract to play James Bond, he wasn’t allowed to wear a tuxedo in any non-Bond movie.
13. Prince Humperdinck from The Princess Bride voices Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas.
14. The mother and father in Coming to America also voiced the mother and father in The Lion King.
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Simple Romantic Gestures
1. Help whittle down your significant other’s to-do list. Pick up her dry cleaning, stock his fridge with a week’s worth of groceries, clean her bathroom, frame the poster that’s been sitting in the corner of his living room since you met. After all, it’s tough to be romantic with all those tasks hanging over your head.
2. Slip a sweet note into his gym bag. What better workout motivation is there than a reminder of how much you care?
3. Make her feel at home. If you and your significant other live apart, make an effort to stock your place with specific items — food, shampoo, etc. — that he or she likes. It makes your place feel more like home.
4. Send your sweetheart a postcard or love letter in the mail. Emails are easy come, easy go. Snail mail packs a punch — especially when it’s not a bill.
5. Share your feelings through music by making your sweetie a modern mix tape. This one looks like an old cassette tape, but it’s actually a flash drive.
6. Make breakfast for your girlfriend. It doesn’t have to be in bed. It doesn’t even have to be anything fancy. Heart-shaped pancakes are easy (hint: pour the batter into a heart-shaped cookie cutter).
7. Recreate your first date. Go to the same place, order the same drinks, and so on. Reminisce about your first impressions of your partner and some of the best, most exciting things that have happened in your relationship since then.
8. Display a sentimental snapshot. Instead of keeping an awesome photo of the two of you on your phone or Facebook wall, print a copy and frame it. Put it somewhere your partner will see it every day.
9. Make the bed at your S.O.’s place after you spend the night together. Tuck the sheets in, fluff the pillows, and make it extra neat so it’s relaxing to get back into later.
10. Help simplify your lover’s day-to-day. Maybe he’s been using the same broken umbrella for a year, or she’s always misplacing her keys. Buy something to solve this little problem, like a top-of-the-line umbrella in his favorite color or a keychain that beeps when she whistles for it.
11. Suggest doing something that your boyfriend wants to do. Think of a restaurant, outing, movie — something that you know is right up his alley — and suggest it before he can bring it up.
12. Compliment your partner in front of other people. It doesn’t just feel good for both of you, it also inspires other people.
13. Hold hands… even if you’re just watching TV at home. Touch is an easy and powerful gift you can give almost anywhere… in various stages of dress.
14. Post a list of three things you love about her on her Facebook wall or send it out into the Twittersphere.
15. Make a vow to always greet each other in a loving way after you’ve been apart. Even if it feels a little silly at first, it’ll help you and your partner keep the butterflies alive.
More tips at http://www.lovespellsx.co.za
How to Fall in Love With Your Partner Again
1. Go out on a date with your partner often, you and your spouse get the chance to dress sexy and go to a place you haven’t been in a long time and you both enjoy such as a fancy restaurant, a club, to play pool, or the movies, or even a bar.
2. Hold hands in public
3. Share information with your spouse. Tell them something that happened at your job or around the house, tell them something you might of discussed at work with your friends, or how your job is going. Share information tell your partner you love them enough to care about how their day went or how they are in general.
4. Be kind to one another. Do not insult each other whether in public or in the privacy of the house. Take the time and say nice things to your partner. Call them sweetie, honey, baby, and tell them how good they smell or anything that is kind and tender. This will make your partner feel love and will in turn make them treat you the same way.
5. Plan a vacation. Find a romantic getaway even if you are taking the kids with you. Book things to do and try new things with your partner to bond. Romance is the key to staying in love. Do everything in the vacation with your partner.
6. Always remember your partner’s birthday. Even if you can’t buy them an expensive birthday gift, just saying happy birthday and acknowledging their birthday will make them feel good.
7. Renew your vows. Relive the moment of when the two of you decided to become one and you can even make it better this time. Take the time and think about all the things you like about your partner.
8. Hygiene is important for romance. There is nothing worse than cuddling at night time with your partner only to find out they don’t smell so good and then the moment is ruined.
9. Be spontaneous. Stop setting days of the week on when you are going to have sex. Take your partner breakfast in bed, or call their job at lunch time and tell them something kinky and sexy that will leave them thinking about you all day. You can also take a shower with your partner if you prefer. This builds intimacy, romance, and it will put love back in your lives.
10. Write love letters. Why can’t we have our own fairy tales?
More tips at http://www.lovespellsx.co.za
The most common relationship problems are
- Home duties
- Making each other a priority
- Unrealistic expectations
- Affairs / infidelity / cheating
- Significant differences in core values and beliefs
- Life stages
- Traumatic and/or Life-Changing Events
- Responses to prolonged periods of Stress
- Bored in or with Your Relationship or … Being Bored with ‘Life’
- Treating each other, or feeling as though you are being treated, with contempt
- Domestic violence
- Lack of responsibility regarding finances, children, health and many other issues
- Addictions – substance abuse
- Excessive reliance on social media, at the cost of the relationship
- Lack of support during particularly difficult times from people that matter to you
- Manipulation or over-involvement in your relationships with family or friends
- Lack of communication about important matters
- Perceived lack of concern, care and consideration / attentiveness:
- Significant personal disappointments and traumas
- Significant differences in opinion on how to discipline / deal with the children
- Long-term stress,
By Prof Mpiya