So often when I am counselling couples there will be a moment where some nit pickiness starts to enter the conversation. It seems that every couple has the list of things that drive them crazy about their partner. Someone squeezes the toothpaste tube in the middle and it is the absolute end of the world that ruins their partner’s day. Someone leaves the toilet seat up (or doesn’t close the lid) and world war three erupts. Someone chews too loudly and the next thing you know everyone takes their plate to a different quadrant of the living space to eat and dining together is ruined.
When all of this stuff begins to come up, I often ask questions about mindfulness. No one is perfect 100% of the time, so if we are going to start the blame game and pointing fingers at our partner, we had better be ready to hear about the habits we also have that show how much we do not consider our partner’s feelings or needs either. When we become mindful, we begin to take others into consideration. We don’t pick at someone for not folding the towels exactly the way we do. We become grateful that we did not have to do that job. We don’t go in afterwards and re-fold them. That would be indicative of an inner control freak. As long as things are organised enough that we can find what we need when we need it, it really doesn’t matter how something is put into a linen closet or a drawer…or even if it ever made it into a drawer.
One of the invitations I often give to couples is to become mindful as well of what it was that initially attracted them to one another. Then to look for indications of those things in their current daily lives. When couples share with each other what it was that first hooked them, it can become quite the “aha!” moment. But we have to remember as well that no one ever is in a stagnant state of being. Change is something that is required for any form of growth to be possible. So the fact that a certain thing about your partner is what drew you in does not mean that that very same thing expressed in that very same way must always be present.
I remember when I was in my 20’s there were certain attributes that I possessed that were very attractive to my mates at that time. Now that I am in my 50’s those very same things would not even come close to being considered “endearing”. In fact they would more likely be considered aggravating. This speaks to how often those “cute little things” that we initially put up with because we are in the swirl of hormonal overload become the very things that drive us over the edge later on. If we allow ourselves to grow and develop, however, we do end up letting go of many of our old ways and adopting new ways of being and sharing ourselves with those we love.
Those new ways of sharing can lead to a complete re-connection with our significant others. It can be something that ignites a spark that becomes a burning flame in an otherwise burned out relationship that is living on mere embers. It breathes life back into the passion and the spontaneity of the relationship. This creates a positive form of excitement and enthusiasm, the glow of which can be perceived by pretty much anyone around you. And it is absolutely beautiful to witness. But it is even more lovely to experience first-hand!