This chapter discusses the approach of mindfulness-based relationship enhancement (MBRE) in couples. Enduring human partnerships inevitably entail adjustment to a course of stressful events and situations, both minor and major. Mindfulness meditation group interventions are efficacious in helping individuals to cope more effectively with stress in a variety of nonclinical and clinical populations. The theoretical basis for applying mindfulness to boost partners' stress coping skills and enhance their relationships is based on at least four salient processes: (1) The act of being mindful-that is, incorporating all experiences, whether enjoyable or difficult, into nonjudgmental presence of mind; (2) The acceptance of one's experience as they are, thereby increasing the compassion and empathy toward others; (3) promoting the relaxation response that results in changes that are the mirror opposite of stress-induced hyperarousal, and subjectively is often experienced as feelings of calm, clarity, and well-being; and (4) self-broadening, leading to attitudinal transformations that are expressed in terms of a greater sense of trust, love for others, and connectedness with a greater "whole." This shows that relationship satisfaction between couple increases through mutual engagement in exciting, self-expanding activities including those leading to the discovery of linkages, wisdom, and their position in the universe.
ASJC Scopus subject areas