100. Prioritizing your partner and growing together with Ellen Boeder

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On today’s episode of Mindful Impact, Justin speaks with Ellen Boeder, faculty at The Relationship School, about some essential tips for cultivating more mindful relationships. Learn more about Ellen at her website: www.ellenboeder.com.

Episode Highlights:

  • Ellen is faculty at The Relationship School, founded by her husband.
  • The thing that makes Ellen excited to wake up in the morning is her family and her daily morning yoga practice.
  • She loves to connect with nature and appreciates the ability to get outside.
  • She first picked up yoga 25 years ago, when she was 22 years old, because she thought she needed to stretch more.
  • She doesn’t currently have a formal sit down meditation practice, though she has in the past. Today, she focuses more on taking mindful walks.
  • Her ability to practice yoga and meditation changed when she had kids.
  • Ellen’s husband, Jayson Gaddis, hosts a podcast with The Relationship School, and she’s a frequent guest.
  • Ellen and Jayson want to challenge each other to be their best and call each other out.
  • Ellen feels they’ve learned how to fight efficiently and fairly, with no low blows or walking out of the room, and always making a commitment to finishing the conversation.
  • In a moment when you’re feeling connected to your partner, you can say something like, “I notice we’re fighting a lot. Can we talk about how to make that better?”
  • What are the main things we should focus on to have the happiest and most loving relationship we can?
  • Ellen counters by asking what does the happiest and most loving version of a relationship look like to you?
  • It looks different for everybody, so it’s important to know your ‘why.’
  • Couples should figure out how to find the inherent strengths in being different.
  • Difference means you can attend to different things and give more, for example, to your children, and you can balance each other out.
  • Ask your partner what they want and what you can do to be the best partner you can be for that person.
  • Ellen sees both men and women struggle with intimacy and vulnerability.
  • We are never finished getting to know another person because we are always changing, and who we are unfolds in the moment.
  • The business of our lives is a distraction that gets in the way of our relationships.
  • Logistics prevent us from slowing down with each other and noticing each other.
  • Scheduling things like sex is awesome; it is intentional, mindful, carving out of time for each other; it is self-care.
  • At the same time, don’t treat it like something to check off a to-do list; be open to whatever happens in that time you carve out to connect with your partner.
  • Talk about how to make the time nourishing for both of you, to feel like input instead of more output.
  • Over time, our differences can become glaring; you have to take the time to metabolize those differences and recalibrate.
  • You have to have something bigger to commit and recommit to even when your feelings naturally shift moment to moment.
  • Ideally, your relationship should be inspiring, fun, and challenging, but that’s something you have to make true intentionally.
  • It’s unrealistic to think that you can stay in the honeymoon phase of an early relationship forever.
  • Being mindful of bringing yourself into the present moment as an individual is a different experience from being mindful with your partner.
  • Ellen feels she can remain present for longer when she’s with her partner or her child, and finds that she’s able to lose sense of space and time.
  • Ellen believes we have many more demands on our attention now than ever before.
  • She and her husband have scheduled business and financial related meetings as a way to keep those conversations separate from their date time.
  • Ellen recommends a date be 3-4 hours, or longer if you’re able, but a 2 hour date isn’t sufficient.
  • Her favorite time with her husband is when they take walks or hikes together.
  • They tried things like couples yoga but Ellen found that for the dates to be meaningful forher, she needed to be talking to and connecting with her husband.
  • If she could go back and give her 18 year old self any advice, it would be to reassure her that she would find love and have a wonderful relationship.

3 Key Points:

  1. There is no one way that a relationship should look or be, so you have to talk about what that looks like for yourself and your partner.
  2. Be intentional about how and when you connect with your partner so that you both get what you need out of it.
  3. Commit to something larger and greater than just each other, because your feelings and emotions towards each other as people can and will change.

Tweetable Quotes:

  • “We have really shared values, and we’re really different people. So that looks like… we have a lot to talk about.” –Ellen Boeder
  • “If I don’t ever slow down or pause and reflect, there’s a cost.” –Ellen Boeder
  • “It’s actually really good that people are different because you can actually attend to more needs and things in the whole system.” –Ellen Boeder
  • “We really do depend and rely on our partners a lot, emotionally. And it’s normal to, it’s okay to, it’s good to. But I think as a society we’re very prone to getting the message thatwe’re supposed to just be okay on our own.” –Ellen Boeder
  • “I think it’s easy to fall in love and hard to be loving every day over time, over the long haul with someone.” –Ellen Boeder
  • “It’s amazing what happens when people just start asking questions and telling more of the truth.” –Ellen Boeder

Resources Mentioned:

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