The mindful practice of being intentional abruptly became a part of my life when I went through Yoga Teacher Training. I began examining the amount of goal setting, or lack thereof, I had incorporated in all aspects of my life. Each workout, my faith, who I was as a fitness instructor, teammate, friend, all had an outline, a purpose, a focus behind it. I came to realize how awesome it was that in a world where most people only set work or workout goals, there I was crushing mindfulness in multiple areas. That’s when it hit me that intentional dating was a must too.
My new fiancé ( 😀 it’s still so foreign and exciting to say) Chris and I are far from perfect. Same goes for our relationship which has had its ups and downs. However, an aspect that I believe was, and still is, a game changer in our relationship are the active steps we take to further ourselves individually and as a couple. I’m clearly pumped about how far our relationship has come and I’d love for anything that has helped us grow to potentially help others. Below are some ways you can incorporate mindfulness both individually and as a couple. If it sounds like a great idea, try it on. If it doesn’t fit you and your life, that’s cool too.
Get Real with Yourself
Get real with yourself in regard to what you truly want and what you’re ready for. Seasons of life are never the same nor do they happen at the same time for everyone. Not everyone is ready for or wants a relationship by any certain age. When Chris and I first met, nothing came of it because it wasn’t the right time for either of us. A season of being single is just as important as a season of being in a relationship. The key is to truly know what you want and what you’re ready for. Even more so, be conscious of it so much that you know specifics. If it’s a relationship you want, what attributes of the relationship would be important? What characteristics would your ideal person have? Then make steps towards that.
Know Your Priorities
When I say know your priorities, I’m talking big picture here. What’s most important to you? For me it goes:
1 – God… God and my faith are above all.
2 – Myself… if my cup is not full, I cannot pour into anyone or anything else.
3 – Family… family will one day be my husband. Since I knew I wasn’t just dating for the heck of it, my relationship was included in this.
4 – Career… how I’m using my strengths to make an impact on the world though my work.
5 – Friends… the people around me help me grow and keep me shining. I cherish relationships with my friends deeply.
Knowing my family, relationship included aka bea included, came before friends helped me to navigate some relationships. Let me explain. I was friends with someone I dated in high school. Our families were close, and we remained good friends. I left out the part where we dated before Chris met him because in my mind it was so small compared to our friendship. But for obvious reasons that left Chris feeling uncomfortable about the friendship. With a clear list of priorities, it made it very easy to see who came first.
Become a Goal Digging Team
Set goals together then crush them. These goals could be anything. Some examples could be to read a book together, go to church together, pray together each night, take active steps to get to know each other’s friends, take a series of cooking classes together, hold each other accountable for going to the gym or eating healthier. Whatever it is, set goals and clear outlines for achieving them. Your relationship is so worth the work these goals may take.
Write Mission Statements
We make mission statements for our companies or in our careers all the time. Why wouldn’t we do this for who we are as people and for our relationships?! Chris and I wrote individual mission statements and shared them with a couple we’re close with so we can hold each other accountable. Our next step will be to write a mission statement together on who we will be in our future marriage.
You can also write different mission statements for every aspect of your life; career, personal, as a wife, as a dad, etc.
Surround Yourself with Solid People
I’m just gonna be real here for a second. Say you tune in and realize you’re ready for a relationship and one day marriage, those friends at the club who applaud casual hook-ups probably won’t lead you towards this goal. They say you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Surround yourself with people you can tell your goals to and who can support you in those goals.
It’s not about being perfect. It’s about continuously growing. What have you had success with in regard to intentional relationships or taking steps towards relational growth? Comment below to share tips and shed some light on it.