We are all living a new normal these days, and what we know is that it's hard to be alone right now. We also know that it can be difficult being in the same space for 24 hours, with the same person for 24 hours.
We are all experiencing so much uncertainty and grief in the collective consciousness. We receive so many suggestions of things we can do during this time, such as learn a new language, take up a new exercise program, or read that great American novel we’ve put off for years.
Well, here’s an idea of a significant accomplishment we can all put at the top of our To-Do list today. When you feel triggered or even slightly irritated, refrain from acting in a way that damages your relationship.
I think many of us felt incredibly sad when we read that the divorce rate in Wuhan China rose significantly. So, maybe we should start a movement where we go in the opposite direction… Would you like to join us?
Take that first step on the journey to help you and your partner stay connected during the Coronavirus crisis. When you incorporate these six steps in your daily practice, you'll bring more care into your relationship and deepen your love as you move forward together.
Tip #1 - It’s ok to go to Bed Angry - Sometimes.
Go to sleep, surrender, wake up, and let the light of a new day bring a fresh perspective.
Tip #2 - Diffuse the Fight.
Tip #3 - Go the Distance.
Fighting causes resentment and damage. Instead - stop and dialogue or schedule a dialogue to truly understand each other through the lens of empathy.
Tip #4 - DON'T CRITICIZE- Ever!
Criticizing damages the relationship, and you can’t take back your hurtful words. If you are doing this, pause and change your language to explain why you’re struggling vs. what’s wrong with your partner.
Tip #5 - Be a Positive Mirror for your Partner.
Reflect back to your partner, their best traits, why you married them, what you love about them, etc. Your opinion weighs a lot!
Tip #6 - Hold on to Yourself.
Keep your friends, your interests, and your own passions. Focus on mutual admiration and respect, and enjoy the differences.
Incorporating these six steps on a daily basis can help us act like adults. It can help us have the capability of noticing our irritations and making a CONSCIOUS decision to respond differently in the moment.
Here’s an Exercise to Help:
Make a list of the ways you react when you’re triggered.
Next to that list, make a list of how you could respond differently.
Study it daily and use it. Most especially, use it at the moments your partner is acting like a toddler and not an adult.
Here are a few Techniques to Help:
If you feel heat and upset coming up for you, take a pause and WAIT before you speak.
Picture a stop sign 🛑.
Ask, “What can I do to make this better right now?”
It really is OK to decide just to let things go. I know, our ego wants us to fight to the finish line to prove ourselves right. Instead, you can create a code word that both you and your partner agree upon as a signal to allow things to cool down. Or, a code word to let it go and protect the relationship first. You can select a funny word that makes you both laugh!
It’s especially helpful to value, letting it go at bedtime. You really don’t need to stay up all night in a tear-stained and petulant way. When in the light of day, things can seem much better. Go to sleep, get up, and make a fun breakfast. It will be over, we swear.
And don’t forget - if you have kids at home, they’re watching a movie about how to relate! Choose the movie you want your kids to view and lock in for their lifetime.
If you are struggling with divorce proofing your marriage during this crisis, we're here to help. Check out our Imago Relationship Workshops and Relationship Therapy. We also have Online Couples Therapy and Online Couples Workshops right now!
This blog post was written by Evie Shafner, LMFT.