- Be more curious than furious.
In addition, it’s okay for your partner to not be “okay” or “okay” with the current situation. Couples aren’t necessarily going to agree on how to manage the pandemic. It doesn’t mean that one person is wrong and the other is right. When having a disagreement with your partner, do your best to try to figure out what they are really feeling and thinking rather than dismissing it. Use active listening in which you hear what they say and then say it back to them in your own words. This can help them clarify any misunderstandings but it also helps them feel heard.
- Take a break.
When stress and anxiety are high, it leads to people having a decrease in their frustration tolerance. Be mindful of how you are reacting to your partner. If you are starting to get heated, then take a break. During that break, don’t think about the conversation with your partner but rather engage in self-soothing activities. Once you are calm and out of the “Flight or Fight” mode, return to your partner to continue the discussion. For some, you may need to take several breaks before the discussion is finished. Don’t let that discourage you. If you or your partner can’t discuss calmly, then you’ll never resolve the issue.
- Remember to use “I” messages.
When using an “I” message your partner is able to really hear what you are saying without becoming defensive. This allows you to create less opportunities to be misunderstood or for your partner to feel attacked.
- What’s your part in it?
- Acknowledge each other’s strengths.
While these tips will help you and your partner’s relationship, it’s important to note that nothing is perfect. Be patient with yourself and your partner as you both begin to make these changes. It will not happen overnight. It’s also important to make sure you are acknowledging each other’s efforts at making change. Compassion goes a long way during times of stress.