Wanting to feel less strain in your relationship with your partner is common, especially if you’re among the many couples sharing the pressures of the pandemic. The good news is that it’s not too early or late to take simple steps that can help bring you closer together, no matter what your circumstance. Try these tips:
Recognize the different stressors you each face. You may be primarily struggling with shifting work duties, while your partner may be overwhelmed with running the household including the kids’ online schooling. Acknowledging your partner’s stressors can help ease the emotional burden on each of you.
Accept the ways you both process stress. When overwhelmed, your partner may retreat for solitary time, while you may need to talk about your challenges and crave interaction. Strive to meet in the middle, when possible. Go for a peaceful walk together, for example.
Tone down your emotions. Experiencing undue pressure and lack of control over life circumstances can trigger tempers. Use rising anger as a “stop sign” to take a break. Step outside, drink a glass of water, or close your eyes and breathe deeply, remembering the good things about your partner, so you can continue discussions in a calmer, friendlier manner.
Carve out any slice of time to reconnect. This may be after the kids go to bed or are preoccupied, providing a chance to make something a little different for supper, for example. Remember, sharing any brief new activity can help replenish the good feelings between the two of you.
Need encouragement that things can improve? A recent poll showed that three times as many couples reported improved relationships during the pandemic as those reporting a damaged relationship! Some experts observed that one secret for happier couples is spending time together outdoors.
Is your communication still at a standstill despite your best efforts? Seek the support of a licensed counselor for strategies suited to your situation.