Two Ways of Being Together

Passively Together:  Even partners who are unhappy in their relationship and engage in a lot of conflicts typically spend a lot of time in each other’s presence, physically being in the same house or the same room, or at the same table, or sleeping in the same bed.  Yet, during these times, they may not interact with each other and more importantly, may not focus any positive attention on each other.  This can be considered being passively together.

Each of these situations is a lost opportunity to practice being together in ways that soothe loneliness, reduce negative reactivity, and foster closeness and togetherness.  In time, the passive together may become mostly hostile together because of the growing emotional distance and loneliness.

Actively Together: Alternately, you can be aware of each other’s presence, notice what each other is doing, and feel a lot more collaborative and a lot closer emotionally whenever you are in close physical proximity.  Being actively together means occupying the same emotional space, letting your judgments and criticisms go(at least temporarily), and allowing yourself to appreciate or enjoy each other’s company.

For example: 1.  The next time you are eating a meal with your partner, take a few seconds every few minutes to notice and take in that your partner is there, eating, sitting, and being together with you.

2. I you fall asleep after your partner or wake up before he or she does, take a few seconds to notice that you are in bed together, sharing the same bed, same blankets, and each other’s body warmth.  Just notice how it feels to be lying and sleeping together(even if you are not touching each other in any way), rather than sleeping alone in the same bed.

3. When you both are doing things around the house, (doing chores, getting ready for your day, getting ready for bed, reading the newspaper), take a few seconds to be aware of your partner, notice what she or he is doing and that you are together in your life.,  Making soft eye contact will deepen the connection even more.,

In other words, being mindfully aware of and present with each other, paying attention, even silently, can help nurture and strengthen your emotional bond–without which no marriage can be very fulfilling.

Happy marriages begin when we marry the ones we love and they blossom when we love the ones we marry…..

Picture of Jim Covington

Jim Covington

Jim Covington (M.Div. MA, LMFT) has been helping couples improve their relationships for more than 30 years. He holds degrees are in psychology and theology, is a licensed New York marriage and family therapist, a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists and has been trained in multiple approaches to marital/couples therapy and family therapy.

He has completed Level 3 Practicum Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, externship training with the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples and PREP (Prevention & Relationship Enhancement Program), and employs Solution Oriented Brief Therapy as taught by Michelle Weiner-Davis.
Picture of Jim Covington

Jim Covington

Jim Covington (M.Div. MA, LMFT) has been helping couples improve their relationships for more than 30 years. He holds degrees are in psychology and theology, is a licensed New York marriage and family therapist, a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists and has been trained in multiple approaches to marital/couples therapy and family therapy.

He has completed Level 3 Practicum Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, externship training with the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples and PREP (Prevention & Relationship Enhancement Program), and employs Solution Oriented Brief Therapy as taught by Michelle Weiner-Davis.