In just under two months, I’m getting married 🙌 💕
And while I’m beyond excited to be able to call Ed my husband, I have to admit that the wedding planning process has been quite stressful. There have been an abundance of decisions (and compromises) to make, expectations of friends and family members to manage, and a rollercoaster of emotions to ride.
At times it’s been easy to get caught up in being focused on the wedding, however, the past few months of our engagement has also provided a beautiful opportunity to reflect on what it means to be married. I’ve spent quite a bit of time exploring what it takes to sustain an intimate relationship, and how to ensure our love stands the test of time. From what I’ve learned it’s pretty safe to conclude that being in a committed relationship is both one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of life and at times can require us to draw on everything we’ve learnt from our meditation and mindfulness practise.
So, with this in mind, I thought I’d share with you some of the resources that have been helping me understand the highs and lows of a long-term relationship.
Over the span of about a week I binge-listened to Belgian psychotherapist Esther Perel’s podcast Where Should We Begin?. And let me tell you; It. Was. Profound. The 10-part series gives you a fly-on-the-wall perspective of individual real-life relationship counselling sessions. Although it may sound dull in theory, and a little bit like emotional voyeurism, listening to the trials and tribulations of 10 anonymous couples made me feel less alone in my own relationship challenges. No one likes to admit that their relationship is imperfect, so I found it amazingly refreshing to hear an honest account of a range of controversial issues such as adultery, sexual incompatibility, lack of intimacy, and general dissatisfaction. Perel’s unconventional approach to couple’s therapy and unexpected advice is insightful and inspiring while also being highly entertaining. You can listen to Where Should We Begin? here.
A few months ago my mum gifted me a copy of the most amazing book, The New Rules of Marriage, by American relationship therapist Terrence Real and it quickly became my new go-to guide. What I loved about this book is that Real provides such a modern approach to marriage, including tips for fighting fair, how to identify and articulate your wants and needs (without being demanding), how to listen mindfully and respond lovingly, and most importantly, how to really appreciate what you already have in your relationship without needing things to be ‘perfect’. If you’re wanting to learn some practical strategies for sustaining honesty, passion, and joy in your relationship, then this is the place to start. You can pick up a copy here.
At the end of last year, Ed and I attended A—Space’s On Being Mindful in a Relationship workshop together and it was such a wonderful bonding experience. Amongst a group of like-minded couples and singles, we explored what our own definitions of love, how our habitual patterns of behaviour can affect our relationships, and were provided with some really practical tips to remain calm, compassionate and patient even during the most testing of times. If you’re based in Melbourne, or if you’ll be visiting in the next month, I highly recommend attending their next On Being Mindful in a Relationship workshop on Friday 16th February. You can find all the here.
I'd love to hear your advice, thoughts and insights into long-term love, so please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Wishing you all the very best.