Are You Missing Out on Your Relationship?

April 10, 2011

By Kim Leatherdale

Older Couple Relaxing Together This morning I completed a five and a half mile forested hike as part of my training to hike the Grand Canyon later this year.  As I hiked with my dog, Thor, a relationship lesson came to me.

The hike was great, the weather warming, the sun just bright enough, and the woods starting to come awake from the long winter.  Buds were opening on branch tips and the skunk cabbage was greening up the wetlands.  But what were most obvious were the sounds!  The birds definitely know it is Spring.  Here’s a sample of what I heard:

  • Chickadees “deeing” at each other
  • Squirrels scolding me from the tree limbs
  • Robins kicking aside leaves to find worms
  • A chipmunk’s descending chirps and squeaks
  • The thrum of a woodpecker drumming a tree
  • The wind in the feathers of a hawk as it flew close overhead
  • A male cardinal exclaiming in song to all who will listen

I was enthralled and happy to hear all this noise and wildness.  Suddenly a woman came jogging along the path toward me.  She smiled at me and Thor as she went by, and I noticed the ear-bud headphones she was wearing.  I hiked a few steps listening to the singing red bird above, and I felt sorry for that woman.  She was missing out on so much.

My question to you is – do you do the same thing in your relationship?

What do I mean?

  • Do you let distractions keep you from realizing the full potential of your relationship?
  • Do you let work, the grand kids, friends, family, a hobby, the Internet, or any other thing distract you from really paying attention to your partner?
  • Are you disconnecting by connecting?
  • Do the things you do keep you from noticing things that might be important or just plain fun?
  • Are you using any misery stabilizers to distract from your relationship?
  • Are you truly mindful of yourself, your partner, and your relationship?
  • What are you avoiding?

Distractions keep you from truly participating in your relationship.  They keep you from appreciating what is good and wonderful in your connection to your partner.  What may start as a diversion may lead to a disconnect.  You miss out, so refocus and pay attention again.

You see, if I had been listening to music I would never have known to look up and see a beautiful red cardinal singing his heart out for a mate.  I would never have known to look to the side of the path to see the chipmunk scurrying away on a log.  I would have missed the red-tailed hawk as it skimmed overhead.  I may have gotten my exercise, but I would not have really lived my hike.

Here are a few ways to help you reconnect:

  • Make a list of what excites you about your relationship (and what used to.)
  • Think about all the things you enjoy or have enjoyed doing with your partner.
  • Identify (and express to your partner) the things you love about them.
  • Recognize the ways you contribute to the positive energy in the relationship.
  • Create a different list of things you crave doing for and in your relationship.
  • Look at the things that drain your passion for the relationship and eliminate them or change how you react to them.

In the month of Earth Day, the relationship take away is to pay attention to your relationship and stop letting yourself be distracted.  Spend energy and time on your relationship; truly live in your relationship.  You’ll find you enjoy it more as you see the great things there are about this loving connection.

Lastly, pull out those ear-buds and relate a little to the wonder of the world.

Kim Leatherdale About the Author: Kim Leatherdale is a licensed professional counselor and relationship blogger. She offers on-line, phone, and in office counseling and relationship coaching. For more information visit her website: CreatingRewardingRelationships, Facebook page: CreatingRewardingRelationships, or Twitter account: HappyCoupleXprt

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