Last year, only just a few months after getting engaged, my relationship hit a serious rough patch. My partner and I were both running our own businesses, juggling social commitments, dealing with health concerns and keeping up with family obligations. We were so consumed by everything else that was going on in our lives that we stopped making time for what was most important; each other.
Our relationship went from one of deep connection to complete superficiality. Feeling exhausted at the end of each day, we’d curl up on either end of the sofa and would lose ourselves in the silent vacuum of watching mindless TV.
As a meditation and mindfulness teacher, I found this habit extremely ironic. My behaviour was going against everything I stand for. So, after much deliberation, we decided that enough was enough. It was time to stop operating on autopilot mode and instead, rediscover presence and connection in our relationship. Naturally, this resulted in a pact to turn off the TV for an entire month. Here’s what happened in the days and weeks that followed:
We turned towards each other, instead of away
In our first week without television, it became acutely apparent just how far we’d drifted from each other. Instead of sharing our deepest fears, doubts and concerns our communication had been completely mundane. Yet after a few nights of sitting on the couch, with nothing to distract us, we started to talk. We let ourselves be vulnerable, real and raw, and for the first time in a long time, we began to reconnect.
We reverted back to the two young lovers we’d once been
When we first started dating we would spend hours sharing our favourite songs, books and childhood stories with each other. Yet somewhere along the way, all of that had been lost. Turning off the TV meant that we had to find new ways to keep ourselves and each other entertained, and after all those years together we started to share what was most important to us once again. We laughed over funny family stories. We danced to our favourite songs. We made a Pinterest board of our dream life together, played board games, went for walks, drank wine and effectively began dating each other once again.
We took responsibility for our connection
It’s easy to blame external factors for making a relationship challenging to maintain; work stress, different schedules, busy social lives, children, pets and so forth. It’s not so easy though to own up to the fact that how we spend our time is a choice. My partner and I had actively chosen to disconnect from each other each night by mindlessly watching TV because it was a much easier option than working through the challenges we were facing. Turning off the TV made it alarmingly clear that if we wanted to have a strong, connected relationship moving forward, we would need to take responsibility for prioritising quality time with one another.
We learned how to communicate openly and honestly
Communication can be hard. It’s not easy in a relationship to air the topics we would rather not discuss, however, it’s my belief that open communication is imperative to stay connected. When we stopped watching mindless television, my partner and I made space to discuss the very things we had been avoiding. Although it was uncomfortable, it allowed us to clear the air, to understand what it was that we both needed from each other and to identify the changes we needed to make in order to sustain a healthy, balanced, loving relationship.
We made love
All those hours of sharing stories, forging an intimate connection and building trust worked wonders for our sex life. We went from mindlessly going through the motions to being fully immersed in the experience of lovemaking. Instead of racing to the finish line we allowed ourselves to surrender into pleasure, vulnerability and openness. The work we’d done on our relationship directly translated to our connection in the bedroom, and we both felt more satisfied than ever before. I would never have guessed that turning off the TV could be such a powerful aphrodisiac.
Why not try it yourself?