This may be an unpopular opinion, but relationships take work. Before you scroll to the next, hear me out. Being in a relationship with someone—a deep, connected relationship with someone—requires effort, patience, and, most importantly, love: love for yourself and love for the other. Relationships require a willingness to be open, fearlessness to be honest, and enough strength to not define your partner by their past mistakes. Essentially, we are asked to step outside of ourselves and trust that this powerful bond is stronger than anything else. Relationships are leaps of faith—and it is exhilarating.
What makes relationships work?
Relationship experts agree on a general criterion for healthy relationships. In an article published by Psychology Today, the list included trust, communication, patience, empathy, affection and interest, flexibility, room for growth, respect, reciprocity, healthy conflict resolution, individuality and boundaries, and openness and honesty. This multi-pronged approach to relating healthily to one another is believed to be the basis of a happy, long-term bond.
Healthy relationships support our mental and emotional wellbeing. When both partners actively seek to meet their own needs as well as the needs of their significant other, there is an enhancement of the relationship as experienced by both parties (NIH). However, when one party hasn’t addressed their internal world, stressors, or traumas, both parties tend to suffer. This is because relationships are the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected; a thing’s effect on, or relevance to, another. Meaning, to be in a relationship with someone is to be deeply intertwined with their internal and external experiences.
It is safe to deduce that individual mental hygiene contributes to our interactions. One of the ways to support our mental health is through mindfulness, the observance and acknowledgment of the present moment. Mindfulness practices can lead to an increased positive outlook, stress resilience, and, subsequently, healthy relationships. Some examples of mindfulness practices are meditation, breathwork, yoga-asana, and journaling.
What is a ritual?
A ritual is a practice or series of actions, often done with regularity, as an expression of one’s personal, social, or spiritual beliefs. We often hear the word ritual in relationship to Cacao and the way it has been used for millennia. Through communities who have shared these traditions with the Western world, we now know Cacao as a medicinal and even spiritual plant. Though greatly respected, some of these rites around Cacao may not resonate with the modern practitioner. Learning to develop a ritual around Cacao while honoring what feels best for you can be as simple as drinking Cacao while sitting in silence or incorporating it into a practice you’ve already cultivated. The beauty of rituals is that they can be done alone or with others. If what you’re doing has significance to you, it is considered a ritual.
How to incorporate Cacao in your relationship
Coming together in love and communion is a beautiful way to strengthen your bond as a couple. As we know, many of Cacao’s nutrients can enhance our moods, and lend an overall feeling of wellbeing. Inviting a Cacao-centered practice into a relationship could create a more nurturing and supportive environment. When choosing a ritual, remember to share your intention around the practice to enhance its significance. Then, create a ritual schedule that is achievable for you both. How often is up to you, but be sure it is something you can keep up with. Remember, rituals are based on what holds meaning to the practitioner, so you can create something as secular as a Cacao and goal setting ritual, or something deeper like a Cacao and meditation experience. Anything you both enjoy. As you implement your new practice, give each other grace, and bask in the feelings of love and support as you continue to walk the path of health, happiness, and growth together.