Are you and your partner able to be emotionally present for each other?
In a previous post on emotional presence, I discussed the importance of self-acceptance and self-presence as building blocks for being emotionally present with your spouse/partner. In today’s post, you’ll learn an exercise to increase your emotional availability and presence.
Why is emotional presence such a big deal?
Effective communication and emotional intimacy (feeling deeply connected to one another) arise from you and your partner being emotionally present for each other. Have you ever had the experience of feeling really listened to by someone (a friend, your spouse/partner)? If so, you probably experienced the following:
~It felt like the other person understood your point-of-view (they “got” what you were saying);
~In addition to feeling understood, you sensed that the other person was fully available and present in that moment with you.
Relationship Help Tip: What’s Required for Emotional Presence
Individuals who are emotionally present exude a particular kind of energy that can be described as an open-receptive mode of relating. When you’re engaged with someone who’s in an open-receptive mode, you experience them as attentive, present, caring, interested and loving.
Achieving this mode of relating takes practice, but it is something you can make a regular part of your marriage/relationship. Here are emotional presence steps you can start practicing with each other:
1. Remove all external distractions (you cannot be doing two things at once and claim emotional presence);
2. Create a segue ritual to help you shift into a more relaxed, receptive internal space—for instance, you can focus on your breath for several minutes or slowly count backwards, or repeat a word or sound over and over again to help your mind transition more deeply into the present moment.
3. If you’re still experiencing any emotional residue that is distracting you, imagine yourself (or someone else) somehow removing what is bothering you. One spouse imagined a moving company boxing up her worries and taking them to a storage facility. Let your imagination find something that works for you.
4. Shift your attention to the calm-energy that is now starting to radiate around your heart-space. Be present with this energy for a few minutes.
5. When you’re ready, allow this energy to slowly reach out to your spouse/partner. Imagine it surrounding both of you, creating an impenetrable orbit that allows for a steady presence. Feel the steadiness and grounding quality of this energy, and how it allows you now to be fully open and receptive to each other.
Are you ready to give this exercise a try? Practice staying in this receptive-open space for several minutes at a time before returning your energy back to the demands of the outside world. And don’t forget to be patient with yourself (and your partner) as you practice being more emotionally present with each other.
Wishing you and your relationship all the best!
Dr. Rich Nicastro