After two series’ of marriage counseling, my husband and I have learned to handle our differences more productively rather than screaming at each other, which only leads to more frustration because nothing gets resolved. Still, we have our disagreements that do not involve screaming but still are not always productive or entail calm listening and understanding. Such is marriage life or any invested relationship for that matter. People will disagree and sometimes have a hard time getting back on the same page.
In the past, disagreements would bother me until we sat down and dissected the argument yet sometimes those dissections would create new arguments. I used to believe that marriage meant coming to an agreement on everything and if we didn’t, then we were doomed. A bit dramatic, yes, but I didn’t grow up watching a model marriage since my parents divorced when I was very young. Anxiety and anger would spark inside me the minute we would get heated in our words and I would have a hard time letting go of it, going over what I should have said and how wrong he was for hours after the disagreement ended.
However, I have noticed a positive shift in how I handle disagreements and I how feel during and after one since making yoga a regular practice about four months ago. I don’t succeed every time but the below list does help me immensely. Irritations inevitably happen in marriage and sometimes linger. The list below is moment to moment tips but the more we practice them, the more they become part of our normal behaviors. And it is irrelevant if your partner practices yoga/ breathing techniques or not; we can only control ourselves and by personal betterment, we can influence our partners and in turn, our marriage.
10 Ways Yoga Improves Marriage
- Pranayama (focused breathing) allows us to dissipate anger and frustration by not letting them build. Staying present by focusing on our breath prevents the “always” and “never”s from entering the scene. Whenever I feel myself getting heated, I immediately shift my focus to my breath and it really helps to regain clarity.
- Realizing that emotions and moods are fleeting and that the only constant is our breath. Once you realize this, you will truly recognize that “this too shall pass”, so it is not worth connecting to the unpleasant emotions.
- Lokah samasta sukino bhavantu translates simply to “may all beings everywhere be happy and free.” Remembering this chant and that everybody seeks freedom and happiness allows us to feel more connected to our spouse rather than distanced.
- Meditation during yoga brings clarity to the mind so that disagreements can be more clearly explained without the ego’s relentless defenses spouting anything to win so that you forget your original point.
- More physical flexibility gained from asana certainly never hurt intimacy in a marriage.
- Mental and emotional flexibility by remembering the above mantra helps to realize that your spouse wants to be happy even if they may seek it in different ways than you. Flexibility breeds tolerance.
- Staying present allows a marriage to move forward. Most partners have at some point said or done something to the other that they regret. Staying present allows one to forgive past mistakes and not project into the future.
- Connecting to the divine within us all, whether you call it God, Oneness, or anything else, allows love to flow more freely to fellow humans, including your spouse. This love for your spouse deepens and enriches marriage.
- Letting go of the ego, even if for brief moments each day allows each of us to let go of our insecurities, seeing ourselves as part of a greater divine thereby allowing us to be true and honest in our relationships.
- Lifting the heart in asana and in life through meditation, pranayama, letting go and seeking the divine bring about a lightness opening us up to more joy and laughter. In day-to-day life in marriage, especially with children, it is easy to get caught up in the “business” of family life which can weigh us down. Lightening up and laughing in marriage is a key to a lifetime of happiness.