The Value of Togetherness
We all want to be with happy people. We love happy couples. We just do. There is something about being in the presence a couple that shows love easily and freely, that laughs together, that touches each other in a caring and sweet way that makes us want more.
February 16-18, I had the opportunity to spend time with 7 such couples.
I created, programmed and facilitated a Couples Weekend designed to improve connection and help restore a sense of togetherness for couples. It was such an amazing experience and as much as I hope the attending couples gained some valuable tips (which I think they did!) and spent some intentional time together, I also had the pleasure of learning so much. I planned the weekend with the intention to promote each couple's together-time but what I found was that the time in communion with the whole group was also incredibly valuable. Not only did the couples offer profound insights to each other but they unintentionally created an audience for each other to express their love publicly.
One thing that happens in relationships- and one reason that some people find themselves wondering about "others"- is that we start to see our partner without objectivity. We see them only from a close up perspective. We see the flaws, the nuances, the small micro-infractions- almost like a Monet too close up. People we don't know can appear more interesting and even more attractive at times because we see them from a more distal vantage point. Dan Ariely speaks of this phenomenon in this video:
One of the wonderful things about spending time with others; friends, family (or in the case of my Commit to Connection couple's weekend, total strangers who end up wanting to be friends), is that we once again get the opportunity to watch our partners with the lens "zoomed out" as we did at the beginning of our relationships when we were just getting to know each other. Watching your partner attend to the emotional needs of someone else with compassion can be a heart-softening, intimacy-building experience. Sharing your commitment and love for each other in the company of people who are intentionally creating space for loving each other, too, is very powerful. Bragging about each other and sharing what you appreciate about each other in front of family and friends is an important element of creating a sense of safety and validation for your partner and even helps remind others what they love about their partner.
How can you create some shared togetherness? Is it a double date? A dinner with friends? Inviting your in-laws over for brunch? Is it watching your partner coach a little league team or simply just laughing with their friends. Take some time to zoom out. See your partner as you did before you thought you knew everything about them. You may be pleasantly surprised!