Mind the Gaps in Your Relationships

relationship problems

In London, when passengers arrive at their destination on London's subway (the Tube) a polite English man's voice sounds over the speaker system admonishing passengers to "mind the gap" as they step off the train. I loved this. I would laugh and say it over and over again. I even bought a t-shirt with this phrase on it.

Little did I know that all these years later, I would need this small reminder to stay close to friends, family and my husband. Gaps in relationships can happen suddenly or over time; they can be subtle or so big you're not sure the relationship will ever recover. Minding the gaps means taking care of the relationship, being cautious of the distances that can be created and doing something to bridge the gap.

With my friends, I start to the feel the tickle in the back of my brain to make a phone call or schedule a night out. With good friends and even family members, there is no such thing as too much time or distance. But with many people, the gaps in time and attention permanently break the relationship.

Ironically I see this most happen with couples. It makes me realize how fragile our love relationships can be; how much attention needs to be paid. Gaps may come in the form of letting go the daily hugs, the regular dates or sex. Other gaps may look like not talking about issues or sweeping things under the rug. Subtle gaps can be not letting your partner know what's going on with your day or ignoring or missing a facial expression that let's you know your partner is upset.

What I love so much about the London subway's public announcement is that it's a call to presence -- a call to mindfulness of what's happening at this very moment. Imagine if we could have the kind of presence in our relationships that it takes to carefully step off the subway train (lest we fall through the crack!). Would we pay closer attention to the little things that can cause big rifts. Would we take action sooner to bridge the distance?

I don't know... But I'm going to replay that polite British man's voice in my head every so often to make sure I'm minding my gaps.