Meditation can have a big impact on many areas of our lives—including our relationships. In honor of Valentine’s Day, our partner Meditation Studio asked some of their top teachers to offer wisdom for the most common relationship problems.
“One of the most important things we can do to add more meaning to our lives is to strengthen our relationships,” says Meditation Studio co-founder Patricia Karpas, who also hosts the app’s Untangle podcast. “We asked a group of women and men, ‘What are the biggest challenges you face with relationships?’ The answers we heard were strikingly similar. While we all have our own ways of dealing with these relationship issues, the core challenges are common to just about everyone. Addressing them is how our Meditation Studio Relationship Collection was born.” Here are the top 7 relationship challenges Meditation Studio uncovered and wisdom for each one.
Wisdom for 7 Top Relationship Issues
Relationship challenge #1: My partner doesn’t hear me.
Probably the three greatest relationship needs are being seen, heard, and understood,” Karpas says. “Getting these three basic desires met takes empathy (and compassion). Mastering empathy is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy long-term relationship, it’s also a key to simply getting along better in life.”
Relationship challenge #2: I get impatient and/or angry about our issues instead of discussing them.
…aka passive-aggressive. “Successful couples often commit to having the tough discussions and start with a focus on a hoped-for outcome,” Karpas says. “Doing this is easier if you can focus on kindness first.”
Relationship challenge #3: We both think we’re right.
People can get very invested in ‘being right’ and in their own point of view,” Karpas says. “There are some things worth arguing about, but there are times when we need to accept a different point of view and move on.”
Relationship challenge #4: I’m critical because my partner isn’t meeting my expectations.
No one is perfect (including us),” Karpas says. “Learn to patiently accept others for who and where they are, open your heart, and notice how your relationships soften.”
Relationship challenge #5: I’m afraid of appearing vulnerable.
Many of us turn mute when it’s time to express our true feelings,” Karpas says. “We want to be tough and strong. We’re afraid that if we say what we really feel, we’ll look foolish. Know that being vulnerable is about the bravest thing you can do.”
Relationship challenge #6: It’s always my partner’s fault.
Intimate relationships often reveal traits in ourselves that we’d rather not face—like a failure to see our own faults. “We may unconsciously choose relationships that force us to learn what we need to learn,” Karpas says. “Be open to the lessons that your relationships can teach you about yourself.”
See alsoThe Yoga Of Relationships
Relationship challenge #7: We can figure it out later.
Waiting until you’re in the “danger zone” to talk about a problem can make it a lot worse. “Many people store up resentments and unexpressed grievances until they’re furious, leaving the other person feeling blindsided and attacked,” Karpas says. “It’s much more effective to talk about problems when you’re not upset.”