Open Your Eyes in Your Relationship

The wisdom of Benjamin Franklin says, “Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, and half shut afterwards.” When you apply this insight to noticing each other’s faults, it works well. However, too many people approach their relationship in a semi-trance state, unaware of their partner’s thoughts and feeling. Sometimes they are not even aware of their own thoughts and feelings.

Do you know what your partner is wearing today? Do you know what their concerns are for this week? I have heard things like, “It has been two weeks and s/he has not noticed that I cut my hair.” It seems that complacency can set in and partners stop paying attention to each other.

My advice is to open your eyes in your relationship. I agree with Benjamin Franklin that after marriage you need to worry less about, “Are we compatible” and more about, “How can we make this work.” But my focus here is the importance of eye contact and presence or attentiveness.

Think back to the last couple of interactions that you had with your partner. Were your eyes on theirs or were they on your phone, iPad, the mirror or whatever distraction it may be. In the memory do you see their face, their expression, their response? Or is the memory more about the message you were giving them.

Focused positive attention is amazingly powerful in any relationship. Eye contact is what helps your partner feel heard, appreciated and that you care. Eye contact encourages your partner to talk and share their thoughts feelings and opinions. Loving eye contact can be one of the most intimate experiences you will share.

If your memories of talking with your partner do not include looking into their eyes, watching their facial expression, and an awareness of their feelings and opinions, then it is time to open your eyes in your relationship.