Is the current pandemic bringing up issues in your relationship? Stressful relationships with those closest to you have been shown to be as harmful for your health as smoking! This is a good time to be honest with yourself on the state of your relationship and consider what you can do to improve it.
I think it's really easy to distract yourself from relationship issues when you're busy and going through the motions of life. Perhaps the daily routine for you and your partner is to parent together in the morning and go your separate ways in the evening. This doesn't leave you a lot of uninterrupted time to be together, facing your issues head on. To read one woman's account of this, click here.
If you do want to venture down this road of making some improvements, here are some things that will help:
Remain calm with your partner. A big part of therapy is learning how to self soothe so you don’t overreact when talking with your partner. Learn when you need to take a break and actually do it. (It's important to tell your partner you are taking a break and make sure you come back to the conversation or tell them when you would be willing to do so).
Try to respond in a non-defensive way. This will make your partner actually want to bring things up with you again. Is there some amount of responsibility you can take for what your partner is raising with you?
Validate your partner's thoughts and feelings, even if you don’t necessarily agree. Your partner needs to know you hear and understand them to move forward with effective conversation.
Visualize what you want for your relationship. Look for evidence within your relationship that fits this vision and start from there. Try not to focus on everything you don't like, which is EASY to do in many relationships.
LASTLY, PRACTICE THESE SKILLS OFTEN!
Most of the skills I work on with couples are not rocket science, but they require practicing and re-working to fit your situation.
Couples therapy is about having a conversation with each other, not each of you talking to your therapist. If you feel you and your partner could refine your communication skills, you can connect with a neutral person who can help you learn to fight a whole lot better. Book an appointment with one of our couples therapists here.
The reality is, we can’t easily opt out of our closest relationship so it's important to cultivate a commitment to communicate what you want and need. If you stop trying and stop caring about doing this it almost always leads to a bad ending. So pick your hard. It only takes one person to invest in the marriage to make it better. ~ Laura