Savor the present

There is nothing that takes the joy away from couples quicker than an archeological dig of broken ancient stuff. By this I mean that many couples seem to specialize in collecting and bringing up every little mistake and hurt from the past. Then, whenever they feel hurt or in turmoil, they start throwing all their arsenal with very accurate aim. The result is not pretty. 

To embrace joy you need to forgive past mistakes and focus on what both of you can do in the present. As we mentioned before, you also need to let go of worry about the future. 

I don’t mean you should never remember the past to learn lessons and to be grateful. I also don’t mean you should not think about the future, set goals, and dream how you want your life to be. What I mean is that you should stop squandering the precious seconds of your life in worrying about the future and ruminating about what's past.

Since life unfolds in the present, How do you live in the present? By relishing or luxuriating in whatever you're doing at the present moment—what psychologists call savoring. "This could be while you're eating a pastry, taking a shower, or basking in the sun. You could be savoring a success or savoring music," explains Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychologist at the University of California at Riverside and author of The How of Happiness. "It usually involves your senses."

Let me give you an example. Many couples miss out on great sex because they are not savoring the present moment. Instead of focusing on the feel of your lover’s skin, the sensations awakened in your body, the flavor of the kiss, the building pleasure of arousal, you start thinking of the unfinished task at the office, or the plates piled up at the sink, or what you forgot to add to the grocery list, or any other past or present issue. The result is that sex becomes routine, a task, one more “check” in your “to do” list. You lose out on joy.

Don’t get so trapped in thoughts of the future or the past that you forget to experience, let alone enjoy, what's happening right now. Don’t sip coffee and think, "This is not as good as what I had last week." Instead, taste it, let it rest a moment in your tongue, enjoy the blend and the roast. If you are sipping together, look into each other’s eyes. Send your love with your eyes. Share a smile. Breathe in the aroma. Relax in the connection of the moment. That’s savoring! That’s focusing on the present.

One of my most cherished memories of savoring is sitting with my husband in an outside cafe in Paris. We had just came out from visiting the Nortre Dame cathedral. Our feet were tired. The smell coming out of coffee shop was inviting. We sat down and enjoyed the moment: being together in Paris, seeing the people go by, enjoying the taste of great coffee, reflecting and commenting on the highlights of the day, looking into the eyes of my husband and reading the same contentment, love and gratitude I was feeling. Thankful that we were able to experience Paris together, right at that moment. 

Question: What is a special moment you have savored with your partner? Share with us in the comments below.  

Your turn for action: Take at least 15 minutes to enjoy a moment together. Whatever you decide to do, savor it. Feel the moment with your 5 senses. Slow down. Breath together. Don’t let thoughts of the past or the future intrude into the moment. Hold on to the present moment of joy. 

Photo via Flickr by christopher cornelius