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January 10, 2024

22 Ways to Bring More Presence to our Relationships.

I was recently challenged to describe what a relationship is made of.

I pointed out that presence is a must.

We were trying to dissect what makes a relationship, which in itself, is a concept. However, what is that concept made of? What exactly builds it into a relationship?

Then I was asked what presence in a relationship means to me. What makes presence? How does it transition from theory to practice?

I thought I had it at the tip of my tongue…except I didn’t!

So I started thinking.

Physical presence. Does the beloved other half have to always be physically there? No.

Spiritual presence. Is that enough? No.

So, what kind of presence then?

What does a present partner look like? How do I identify whether it matches my understanding of being present? And if I see it, how do I describe it?

I do believe in physical presence. In support. But AI is strongly coming in and I personally don’t want a robot replacing skin-on-skin. However, even if it’s two real people and one is a human robot, I’m not satisfied either.

So there needs to be physical and spiritual presence. Something that reflects a connection between the body, mind, and soul.

On the other hand, is a spiritual connection enough on its own? No. I find I love everything that comes with the body sheltering the soul.

On the practical side, I see a bunch of simple actions, more than meandering in my own thoughts trying to define a notion.

Here’s what I’d value if I was in a relationship, starting with the tiniest of things:

>> A simple good morning message. Kisses, hugs, thinking of you. Xoxo. Profoundly basic. But sweet when done genuinely.

>> How’s your day looking? Again, profoundly basic.

>> I’d love to spend time with you today. How’s your schedule looking? And then, make the time for me. Put your money where your mouth is. Do not leave me hanging because something came up.

>> Prioritize. Sometimes, even when life is busy, I want to be priority. It doesn’t have to be long text conversations—I actually prefer face-to-face conversations—but a touch base message never lets you down.

>> They’re the first person I want to share something with and I’m the first person they want to share something with. There’s a real engagement and concern when sharing and listening. You’re not there to fix it. Just to listen and hug me and wipe my tears if needed.

>> Meeting family and friends. It shows reciprocity and intentions. If you mean it and are in it, you don’t hide. Quite the opposite.

>> Be there in the good and the bad times. Be someone with whom to laugh and cry. Be someone to chill with and go out and party with.

>> Be involved in the little tasks I hate doing: filling up the gas tank and taking the car for servicing and inspection. Boring stuff.

>> Cooking for each other. Sharing. Pampering. Loving. No more words needed.

>> Preparing tiny surprises, almost meaningless. But they do have a meaning, even if it’s just symbolic.

>> Rituals. Your alone time together builds complicity, confidence, trust, and fun.

>> Traveling together. Here’s when you see each other happy, stressed, frustrated, or in awe. The good and the bad side.

>> Commit to get to know that person. Spending time is the most effective way to do it.

>> Engage in the difficult conversations without running away. And commit to fixing things.

>> Choose to be vulnerable and honest in your intentions.

>> Choose to balance between giving and taking. Choose to be you, allowing them to be them, and understanding there’s a space for each of you and a space for you as a couple. Understand there’s an “I” (for each of you) and there’s an “us.”

>> Feed the romance on a regular basis, especially when it becomes “normal.” Play, have fun, laugh, release your spicier side for no reason, knowing it’s a no judgement zone. This is how the relationship grows.

>> Fight for your reason why. Why you got together. Relationships are hard to build nowadays and easy to break. Be aware of what brought you there. And push if it’s what you really want instead of giving up because it’s too much of a hassle.

>> Always, always listen. Try to understand rather than reply. Offer empathy. How would you feel if it was the other way around?

>> Share the household responsibilities: kids daily routine, food preparation, cleaning. Both have to be involved. It’s not a one-way street.

>> Make time for the couple, the “us,” away from the responsibilities. Here’s where a support structure can help: grandparents, uncles and aunts, best friends. Who can get the kids for one night?

>> Be strong and steady when sh*t hits the fan. The boat may rock but work together to not let it sink. There’s a reason why you chose to be together and have a family. Always come back to your reason why. And if both want to, you’ll get it.

When it comes to relationships and presence, I think it’s about communicating, knowing that neither of you is perfect. Acknowledging that both of you have insecurities and those insecurities are not a weak spot because you’re safe and neither of you will use these feelings as a weapon.

Be reassuring, instead of defensive or avoidant. When you start thinking “fight or flight,” just stay and listen. Allow tempers to cool. And when you’re both ready, get back to it.

If you find that you’re feeling judged by your partner instead of being understood, maybe we need to consider if they’re really there for us, which brings us back to the question: What is presence?

Also, maybe consider reaching out for help to understand ourselves more, acknowledge our insecurities, and work to strengthen them so we can meet halfway. So both your actions can speak louder than words. Then, behave accordingly.

It sounds simple enough, right?

So why isn’t it?

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