By Alison Bowen
When your spouse leaves dirty laundry two feet from the hamper, the last thing that comes to mind is meditating on your feelings.
But experts say being present in the moment, or having a “mindful” marriage, can translate to happier couples.
We first noticed the mention of mindful marriage when Jennifer Garner and fellow actor and husband Ben Affleck said years ago that they aimed for a mindful matrimony. Theirs has since soured, they announced they’re divorcing recently after 10 years.
Others referencing a thoughtful relationship include Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, who announced their own “conscious uncoupling” in 2014.
Mindfulness might not have led to a perfect ending for those couples, but therapists say it helps so many marriages that some are building their practice around it. Couples counselor Maxcia Lizarraga, based in Nashville, Tenn., even credits it for the success of her own 44-year marriage.
“Being mindful is about being present in the moment without an agenda to change that moment,” said Durango, Colo., clinical psychologist Darrah Westrup, co-author of “The Mindful Couple: How Acceptance and Mindfulness Can Lead You to the Love You Want.” “You’re aware of this moment and watching it.”
This is helpful for individuals as well as couples, anyone can benefit from wrangling his or her thoughts more positively. And in a relationship, this can lead to more patience and compassion.