We all have a desire for connection, acceptance, and love. Mindful loving is a choice that partners make to help fulfill this desire.
Below, you will find an excerpt from our book, “Mindful Loving: A Guide to Loving with Passion and Purpose.” This is a book for all ages and all stages of relationships, truly a gift that keeps on giving.
Welcome to Mindful Loving: A Guide to Loving with Passion and Purpose. This is a gift to you inspired by our work with thousands of couples over the past thirty years. Through our work in marriage and family therapy, sex therapy and relationship coaching, we have learned how important it is to navigate through the challenges, celebrations, and cycles of loving. It has been our privilege to partner with clients who have shared vulnerable and intimate details of their lives and love relationships.
We have worked with individuals and couples who have presented with distress, pain, and despair. Through their commitment to heal, they developed the necessary skills and practices that transformed their relationships into Mindful Loving relationships. We have been inspired by the resilience of couples who have moved from pain to loving with passion and purpose.
Mindful Loving is a conscious decision to love with intention and attention. It involves being present, thoughtful, and open to the experience of loving and being loved. Mindful Loving is dynamic and ever-changing. Throughout the course of our love relationships, there are natural ongoing cycles of connection and engagement coupled with cycles of disconnection and withdrawal. Understanding these cycles helps us journey through love with a greater sense of confidence.
The foundation of Mindful Loving is grounded in our emotional health and our willingness to love and commit. Many factors impact the quality of our love relationships, including the relationships in our families of origin, past love relationships, and our level of emotional health and maturity. Mindful Loving embraces our physical, emotional, mental, sexual, and spiritual selves. The success of Mindful Loving is based on building trust, being vulnerable, and accepting ourselves and our partners.
Loving ourselves is vital to being able to love another. Mindful Loving is a mindset and practice that starts with the individual. It teaches us to stay open and reach greater levels of love and intimacy. Mindful Loving becomes second nature and enhances all our relationships. We all grow and change over time and the practice of Mindful Loving influences the very nature of our love relationships.
Mindful Loving is essential for creating a healthy and happy relationship. It is more than just a concept. It is a practice that translates into loving with passion and purpose.
In a Mindful Loving relationship every interaction reinforces the purpose of the relationship. When we feel loved, valued, understood, and desired, we are able to feel safe and nurtured. In Mindful Loving relationships, our passion is sustained.
Passion comes from the core of who we are. When we experience passion within ourselves, we are better able to create that passion in our love relationships. Everything we desire to experience around us must begin within us, and passion is no exception. When we experience passion within ourselves, we then create that passion in our Mindful Loving relationships.
Passion encompasses a wide range of strong emotions and includes both positive and negative emotions. Passion is the experience of joy; exhilaration; sexual fulfillment; ecstasy; and deep, abiding love. Passion fuels inspiration, fun and creativity and provides experiences that fulfill our desires. Passion invigorates our brains and gives life greater meaning. Having more passion in our Mindful Loving relationships means we create the relationships we desire, and experience love at deeper levels.
Passion is also the fuel for anger, disappointment, and frustration. The practice of Mindful Loving grounds us and helps us get through the tough and negative side of our passion. Our passion helps us determine our purpose as individuals and as partners.
Purpose comes from our reason for living and loving. Our purpose defines the way we live our lives and why we live those lives. Defining our purpose is a challenging and life-long task. It is one of the most meaningful inquiries we make during our lifetime. Some questions that clarify your purpose include the following:
Understanding our purpose forms the basis of who we are, why we are driven to do what we do, and why and whom we love.
Knowing our own purpose is essential to developing the purpose for our Mindful Loving relationships. Understanding the purpose of our Mindful Loving relationships provides a solid foundation for our love relationships.
Some questions that help define the purpose of a Mindful Loving relationship are the following:
Once we know the purpose of our Mindful Loving relationship, we have an opportunity to explore how to take it to heights and depths that are fulfilling and exhilarating. Knowing our purpose and the purpose of our Mindful Loving relationships deepens our love experience.
Through Mindful Loving relationships, we have the powerful experience of living with passion and purpose.
All of us desire connection, acceptance, and love. Mindful Loving is a way of loving that enables us to experience life and love more fully. We develop skills that help us love with greater passion and purpose. Mindful Loving calls us to be present and to prioritize the relationship by giving it time, attention, and care.
The two most common beliefs that affect our expectations in loving relationships are, “Couples should live happily ever after” and “Relationships are hard work.” The first belief is based on a fairytale in which a prince and princess meet, fall in love, struggle, and then live happily ever after. Many people grow up believing this fairytale is true because the fantasy is reinforced by pop culture, books, and music. These people measure their relationships against the fantasy and feel disillusioned and disappointed when they fall short. These fairytales only reflect the beginning of the relationship, and we never see how the characters live together or manage their relationship after the story ends.
The other belief is “Relationships are hard work.” This belief leads couples to live through struggles and challenges without developing skills for resolution and growth. These relationships are more practical in nature and less focused on passion and purpose. The truth is, although relationships do take work, they are more than “hard work”. Mindful Loving relationships can also be fun and easy and provide us with greater passion and purpose.
We encourage you to rethink these two common beliefs. Think instead, that healthy, long-term relationships don’t just happen. Relationships require attention, care, and meaningful work. This book is a guide that gives you the skills and tools to create your own Mindful Loving relationship.
When you do nothing to prioritize or strengthen your relationship, at best, it stays the same, or at worst, it begins to deteriorate. The goal of this book is to provide information based on our combined years of experience that will help you create a healthier, more fulfilling relationship with enhanced passion and purpose. It is not intended to be a substitute for psychotherapy or counseling. For those couples suffering from more complex problems, such as abuse, domestic violence, addiction, or mental health issues, this book can be a supplement to professional help.
Our current culture, with its technology, social media, global turmoil, and chronic stress can often distract us from being the kind of partners we want to be. We get caught up in fear and negativity and focus on what is wrong instead of what is right. At times, we neglect the practice of expressing and acknowledging appreciation and gratitude. Confronting problems or challenges in a relationship can feel overwhelming because we don’t know where to start. This book is designed to help you make an honest assessment of where you are in your relationship, where you want to be, and gives you strategies and practical tools to get there. This guide will teach you to develop skills and practices that build healthy, passionate, and loving relationships.
There are three sections to Mindful Loving: A Guide for Loving with Passion and Purpose:
Partners engaged in Mindful Loving relationships include heterosexual and same-sex couples. The examples in this book reflect common patterns we have seen over the years. None of the examples are based on any one person or couple. We created the examples to illustrate concepts about relationship challenges and resolutions. We recognize they might appear simplistic or unrealistic. Couples resolve these challenges when they are committed, conscious and intentional in using the skills and practices of Mindful Loving.
We designed this book for couples and individuals. In addition to a focus on committed love relationships, it is also applicable for any relationship. Whether you are both committed to enriching your relationship or one of you is trying to change patterns in your relationship, this book will help you. We provide practical information as well as tools to assist you in your Mindful Loving journey.
There are several ways to use this book.
1. Read it and enjoy it.
The goal of this book is to provide information that will help create a healthy and fulfilling relationship with enhanced passion and purpose.
2. Read and share the information with your partner.
By sharing the information with your partner, you can discuss what resonates and apply it to your relationship.
3. Read the book with your partner.
Reading the book together stimulates conversation. By discussing the information from each section, you will open yourselves up to new ideas, concepts, and practices.
4. Use it as a guide and workbook.
Using this book as a guide and workbook means reading, discussing, and implementing new practices from each section. By implementing the skills and tools relevant to the growth of your relationship you can create your own Mindful Loving relationship and enhance your passion and purpose.
Mindful Loving is a practice that you develop over the life of your Mindful Loving relationship. It is a discipline that is worthwhile and becomes second nature and easier over time.
Mindful Loving: A Guide to Loving with Passion and Purpose teaches and empowers couples to sustain connection in their relationships. This connection allows passion to flourish and becomes the foundation for a relationship in which each partner feels loved, heard, understood, and desired. When passion flourishes, purpose is fulfilled, and Mindful Loving becomes one of life’s greatest sources of joy and fulfillment.
For more information about “Mindful Loving,” please visit: https://mindfullovingbook.com/