Recently, I was asked to write down three things I’m most proud of in my life. Between all of the defining moments and accomplishments, one stood out – my relationship with my husband, Sunny.
Sunny and I have been together for 6 years, and although we’ve been through plenty of ups and downs – challenging conversations, moves across the country, and transitions in our careers and personal lives – we both consistently rate our relationship as a 9 or 10 out of 10.
The quality of our connection and our relationship is the direct result of the conscious effort we put into both our own growth and wellbeing, as well as the health of our relationship. From day one, we’ve put intentional effort into maintaining practices that keep us strong, connected, and invested.
Many of the skills and practices that have helped us grow our incredible connection and keep it strong over the years started with what I’ve learned from my mom and mentor, Gigi. Growing up, these skills were modeled to me and I learned them intuitively from observation. When I began working with Gigi as my mentor, I learned the actual frameworks and specifics of how to use these skills in my relationship. And over time, we’ve taken those skills to create practices that support us and our love.
Today I want to share one of those practices with you. We call it, “What’s on Your Heart,” and it’s truly been a foundational ritual that has helped us deepen our relationship over the years and stay close throughout the many phases of life together.
With my knowledge of relationship skills like receptivity – one of the many skills Gigi has used to teach countless women around the world to build deeper and more harmonious connections with their partners – we created this practice.
Above all, this process is an opportunity for us to hold space and listen deeply to one another in whatever we’re going through and experiencing.
Over the years, we’ve shared this practice with many couples and have heard such amazing results from everyone who has tried it. For many, it feels a little vulnerable or uncomfortable at first. But as they practice, they find it resolves the common complaint of feeling like their partner never totally listens to them, or that they constantly jump in to solve things when they just want to feel heard.
We’ve also been told that for some people, it helps them feel more in touch with what’s going on for them emotionally since so often, we just push things down and don’t take the time to slow down and feel into our hearts.
And above all, this practice fosters deep connection and peace inside relationships.
Personally, we do this practice about every two weeks, but you can do it as frequently as feels good for you and your partner.
Here’s how it works…
1. Set aside a time with your partner to be fully present for this ritual. We like to do it on a date night, but it can be any time when you have at least 1-2 uninterrupted hours together. We often enjoy going out to a nice restaurant (and yes, I often end up crying in public), but you can do it at home too. Either way, a nice environment goes a long way. Light some candles and make the space feel good. The most important element is your full presence.
2. Sit directly across from each other, or in a position where you can make easy, comfortable eye contact. Then, choose who will begin and have the other person ask the question, “What’s on your heart?”
3. The person going first then simply shares everything that comes up for them. It can be things they’re excited and happy about, things they feel challenged and stressed by, things causing them pain, and everything in between.
The person should take their time and go as deep as they can on their share. Make an effort to really tune into their heart and focus on the emotions. It might take a little bit to get into a flow, but they can take pauses and take their time.
Be aware of the tendency to jump up to the mind and begin talking about solutions or thoughts. If this happens, simply take a moment to recenter, drop in, and come back to the heart space.
4. As the first partner shares, the other person simply sits and listens with their full presence. Their role is just to hold space and be a witness to their partner’s experiences and feelings. Whatever comes up, they simply stay open and receptive.
If the person sharing gets stuck, you may simply ask them again, “What else is on your heart?”
As they share, resist the urge to jump in. You can offer simple, empathic responses, but don’t offer solutions, opinions, or ideas of your own. Just listen. Allow your partner to talk and talk until there is nothing left to say. At first, these sessions may be short, but as you grow in the practice they may get longer. These days, Sunny and I usually share for about an hour each!
5. When the person sharing feels complete, then you switch roles. The person who shared first will now ask the other partner, “What’s on your heart?” and take their turn actively listening with pure presence.
This ritual may sound incredibly simple, and it is! But it is also incredibly powerful. Each time Sunny and I complete one of these sessions, we feel emotionally lighter and more connected with one another.
It’s a chance to really drop in and know the inner workings of the other person’s heart. And this ripples out into so many aspects of our life and relationship. If you are craving a way to connect deeply with your partner and maintain a sense of emotional closeness, I highly recommend you give this practice a try!
Desiring a partnership that’s truly a “10 out of 10”? Join us for our next Level Up Relationship, a 3-Day Relationship Intensive to get crystal clear on what you want in your relationship and how to create it. Learn powerful skills to improve communication, decrease conflict and deepen your relationship with not just your partner, but everyone in your life. Click here to learn more.