How to maintain healthy relationships during challenging times

Being all huddled together 24/7 for an extended period off time can put a strain on your relationship. You may both get more easily triggered by each other  You feel more irritable and  snappy and your partner is very likely experiencing the same.

So how can you keep your relationship from getting too fraught or stressful?

Here are three tips

1. Speak from your experience.

If there is something that feels difficult for you or you don’t like, say it.  Don’t just say “You always do this and it drives me mad”  or “I have asked you so many times and you never….”

Allow yourself to be vulnerable by sharing what is happening for you: I feel angry, sad, hurt etc rather than just telling the other of doing something wrong.

Often when we get triggered, a younger part of us is taking over and we see the world through this younger parts eyes. We then also respond from that part. So you can end up arguing as a 5 year old with your partner’s 7 year old!

If you feel really stuck in this triggered part, and it happens to us all, then take some time out. Just saying I need some time now and moving yourself away can help. Or you can speak to a friend. Speak to your partner about this when you feel calmer and again, allow yourself to be vulnerable.

2. Listen to your partner

Do you know how you really listen to your partner? Are you already preparing what you are going to say when they are speaking? Do you tend to interrupt them or think you know what they are going to say anyway? Can you really listen – so that as you listen to the other you also listen to what happens in you? And then respond from what is happening for you?

This is a skill we can all learn with some practise. As you listen to your partner, notice your own breath and your body. Maybe you can also notice how they are when speaking. It is as if you zoom out a bit and start taking in more than just the words. This will give more space in you and can help to keep you more relaxed.

3. Compliment each other

However long you have been together –   it is good not to take each other for granted. It is so easy to focus on the things they do that drive you mad and not see the good things anymore. Make it a habit to say thank you f- or example when one of you does something in the house – to take some time to appreciate each other and what each of you contributes. This is really about the little things, like making you a cup of tea or doing the dishes. Appreciating the other in ways that work for you both builds more trust and solidarity between you and creates a stable foundation.

Don’t feel you have to do all 3 tips straightaway. Even putting one of these tips in practice will make a difference and when you feel comfortable with that you can add another one.