The Pandemic was stressful. For EVERYONE. Really, no one was spared from some difficulty. Yet, what we each faced was a unique experience. There was no universal set of circumstances. In fact, many of us experienced opposite effects. Some of us were hard hit financially, while others did better than usual. Some of us had lots of free time, while others had almost none.
Couples, married or dating, experienced a variety of challenges. For some couples, they had a lot of extra time together, while others saw each other less. For some, the Pandemic was an opportunity to grow closer to one another. Others found the experience to be very hard on their relationship with increase bickering, disagreements, and emotional distance. Many more people are questioning their relationship than ever before.
As the Pandemic restrictions start to ease and we go back to our old routines, it is time to get back on track with our relationship, too. Here are some suggestions to consider:
• Take stock of your relationship.
• What were your wins over the last 18 months?
• What are the hardships that you experienced as a couple, and as individuals? Recognize that things may have affected you differently.
• What are the lessons that you learned from your unique situation?
• What needs some adjustments?
• Have an honest conversation about which parts of the relationship need some work. Consider how you will invest your time and energy to make things better. I suggest doing more than “trying harder with the same old solutions.”
• Be patient with one another. Both of you have experienced hardships. Having a generous, compassionate attitude allows you to recognize what isn’t working and address the difficult parts with a future-focused, growth mindset.
• Identify where you need help. You can find new-to-you suggestions by reading articles or books, watching YouTube videos, or following a Relationship Expert. Or, it might be time to get some professional help from a couple’s therapist or relationship coach. If you think you could benefit, don’t wait. Most couples wait far too long to get help. Don’t wait until one of you are ready to walk out the door.
• Recognize what works well in your relationship. Looking at the big picture means that you give credit for the good and the bad. It tempers the struggle by reminding you that the relationship is not defined only by the difficulties.
Most couples can recover from stressful times. It might take some intention and action, but it is worth the effort. We already have so much invested in our relationship, and saving it spares us of so much pain and hardship in the long run.