We are built for connection. Humans have been forming groups since our beginning. One of the ways that we aim to build that connection is through romantic partnerships.
Trying to fuse, blend, integrate (or whatever other word that makes sense here) your life with another person can be extremely difficult at times.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a world-renown Vietnamese Buddhist monk, has some amazing advice on how to better interact with your partner (this process can be used with strangers too!).
Thich Nhat Hanh calls these the 4 Mantras. These 4 mantras or sayings help to establish a safe and connected space for you and your partner to interact and grow together.
Darling, I'm here for you.
This simply means to offer your presence to your partner. You are here for them.
Darling, I know you are there and I'm so happy that you are truly there.
This mantra helps your partner (or anyone) to feel acknowledged and recognized as the special person and presence that they are.
Darling, I know you suffer...that is why I am here for you.
This mantra tends to be difficult in our culture. Often we want to solve and fix our partner's problems as fast as possible. Generally, that is not what our partner is asking for. Our partner is probably looking for empathy and a listening ear. This mantra encourages us to simply acknowledge our partner's suffering and struggle and to offer our presence first over help or solving the problem.
Darling, I suffer. I am trying my best to practice. Please help me.
This mantra speaks to when we are the cause of our partner's suffering. We use this mantra to acknowledge our role in our partner's suffering, ask them to help us with our own suffering, and offer a brighter future, "I want you have what you need, and I will work to grow in that direction."
The next time you and your partner get into a fight or feel disconnected, try to establish these 4 mantras before trying to solve the issue.
I help couples build connection.