How to Cultivate More Peace in Intimate Relationships

100 years ago there was no internet. Imagine that! The first very basic internet was developed in the 1950s as the United States government sought ways to communicate from device to device in case of an emergency. These very early adopters had no clue that their innovation would reach the masses just 50 years later, with 42% of the human population “online” today!

Well just like we had no clue about the internet back then, we also (until recently) had no idea that our nervous systems work very much in the same way. What do I mean by that? The internet is a network that runs communication through a set of devices, regardless of location or time. Neuroscientists have recently confirmed what mystics have always known: “We are all connected.”

Our nervous systems were not designed for isolation, in fact we exist in what some describe as living networks from one nervous system to the next. This is why you can sometimes “feel” somebody even when they are not present. It’s also why we can “co-regulate” meaning return to a state of calm or peace when we are physically present with someone we feel safe with or who we love.

This may indicate that strengthening our relationships is even more important than meditating by ourselves! But how do we create more peace with the people we love the most when many times they are the ones who get our impatient, intolerant and frustrated side?

  1. Practice empathic listening

Have you ever had a conversation with someone on the edge of their seat, waiting to reply without taking the time to hear you? We’ve all been on the receiving end of this type of listening and on a nervous system level it shuts most of us down. Try empathic listening instead. When someone is speaking, truly hear and understand what they are saying to you without judgment and without considering your response WHILE they are speaking. Watch the intimacy in your life continue to deepen as you practice this.

  1. Make a point to truly connect

We’re all busy! And we make time for what’s most important. Unfortunately in today’s society what’s important to most is what psychologists call overfunctioning. Meaning we take too much on and push ourselves too hard. Our primarily focus is on our goals, rather than our relationships. If you want to cultivate more meaning and depth with those you love, make it a daily, weekly or monthly practice to take some special time out just for them. Whether it’s just to pause in your day and talk, or take part in some special activity, you’ll notice a change! And you’ll most likely feel more at peace in your life.

  1. Have “no screen time” time

In our screen obsessed society, many people can barely pause at a red light without checking their Facebook or Instagram. And it’s not unusual to have a family of 3 or more sitting in front of the giant screen (Apple TV, Netflix, you name it) while also scrolling down their own separate newsfeeds. It is impossible to connect with someone in real time with a screen getting in the way. Commit to spending screenless time with the people you love – whether that’s during set time of day such as dinner, or for a special day together like a holiday or birthday.

When we focus on strengthening our closest connections, everything in life gets easier, better and flows more. We will have greater inner peace when we can show up in our relationships, truly be ourselves, and feel seen, heard, understood and loved.

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