Tell me about the last time you were fully present and attentive to your partner's needs.
Now tell me how the hell you were able to do it.
When I'm juggling my own needs, our three kids' needs, and the needs of the household, the dog, the cat, the businesses we run....
I have to be honest with you, I oscillate between my relationship being last and my own needs being last.
I know that when I am running low on sleep or my body feels depleted in addition to everything else, it's incredibly difficult for me to be fully present with Shaun.
I show up as my not-best self.
I love my partner, and he doesn't deserve my not-best self.
Even I don't deserve my not-best self, because that's exactly when the voices of judgement, shame, guilt, and fear come in, and I feel doubly bad.
So in this week's episode of the Epic Couples Podcast entitled Presence and Presents, Shaun asks, “How do you show up to your relationship when you’re not at your best?”
I'm here to offer you five steps you can take:
STEP ONE: ACKNOWLEDGE
You may not be at your best, and that's okay. The first step is acknowledging where you're at and what you can do and what you can't do.
If you make an attempt to do more than you're capable, you may find yourself letting down your partner or even resenting them. So take stock of where you're at and be brave enough to acknowledge it.
STEP TWO: SHARE
Get vulnerable and share with your partner where you're at and what you feel you're capable of doing and not capable of doing.
Give your partner an opportunity to be compassionate and see you as human and someone who can't do it all all of the time.
STEP THREE: ASK
Once you're clear and have shared what you are and aren't capable of doing or being for your partner right now, ask your partner what they need.
There are many great questions you can ask to be there for your partner:
- What can I offer you right now?
- What do you desire right now?
- How do you want to feel right now?
STEP FOUR: LISTEN
After you ask your partner what they need, listen to their response around what you can offer them or what they desire or want to feel right now.
Most of us listen so we can interrupt with how to fix the situation, so we can interject something about our own experience, or so we can say how the other person is wrong.
Try listening with your full body. Pay attention to your partner’s body language, their tone of voice, and their words. Bring your full presence to every word and listen fully and completely to your partner.
STEP FIVE: RESPOND HONESTLY
Let your partner know if you can honestly be present for them in the way the need or desire right now. You may need to offer a compromise—something that's smaller or shorter than they need—and it's still in your relationship's best interest for you both to have conversations like these.
After all, how often are you at 100% capacity, fully ready and able to be present with your partner?
You can take a listen to Shaun and me as we talk about what happens when I'm not fully present in our relationship and what it feels like for him.
Through our conversation I invite you to consider how much time and energy you make available for your relationship and whether you’re putting everyone else’s needs above your own.
Then think about how you can slow down your life to be more present for your partner and for yourself to live and be the way you want to be.
You know you both deserve it. ;)