Seven Easy Steps To Recharge Your Relationship Plan

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Smallest of cracks can lead to big resentments and frictions in a marriage. Regardless, the best of relationships require continuous efforts and nourishment to be adaptive. So, as you can’t go out, why don’t you take this time to go inwards and nourish your marriage.

  1. Accept and Adapt – The first thing you can do is to pull yourself together and see things as they are! Introspect to know if you or your partner have slipped into any unhealthy habits like smoking, alcohol, anger, avoidance, or even withdrawal. Identify and work on unburdening yourself by steering acceptance. This will lower your anxiety and build preparedness to deal with the situation. Once, you’ve accepted the situation, new horizons will open up for you to adapt and grow.

Useful Tips:

  • Take care of yourself – Make time to meditate or do yoga, have FaceTime or zoom calls with your loved ones to stay connected, eat healthy food, and indulge in some form of exercise to reverse the anxiety pull.
  • Practice compassion – Be compassionate towards yourself and how you feel, alongside, feel compassion for your partner. Know that you are not alone in this and acknowledge the fact that you both may be fighting different battles. So be kind to one another.
  • Engage in a dialogue – Have a healthy dialogue with your partner and discuss your individual needs with one another. Talking about your feelings not only makes you feel lighter, but it also fosters a better understanding. To know that you both are in a shared hardship, like you may be overwhelmed with educating and taking care of the children, while your partner is burdened with fears of finance, will get you both closer.
  • Choose your battles wisely – Being in a lockdown is not the right time to tackle every issue in hand when it comes to your marriage. It is wise to mutually leave a few heated issues at bay for a while. This is crucial particularly when you have children living with you in the same house. Agree to maturely come back to those issues later when things are returning to normalcy in your environment. However, if for some reason, you cannot put the issue under the carpet temporarily,  then at least wait for a better time to address it, like when your child is asleep or when you are well-rested.
  1. Co-create and Honour Boundaries – Talk with your partner about having boundaries to ensure that you have time to yourself when you feel the need to unplug and declutter your inner thoughts and feelings. At times, when you are feeling worked up, you tend to say things that you don’t mean and regret later. At such times, it’s crucial to take some time out for solitude and restore balance. Here, boundaries come into play.

Useful Tips:

  • Co-create visible boundaries – This may include the agreed-upon gesture of walking out of a room and being by yourself for a while. This form of time out can be agreed upon to be a sign of non-intrusion, where you just want to be by yourself respectfully.
  • If not, you may have invisible boundaries – These boundaries may be as subtle as wearing your air-pods, working on your laptop, or reading something. This would signify your need to be alone for a while.
  • Honour these boundaries – Once co-created and agreed upon, ensure to respect these boundaries rather than feel anxious about its need in the first place. The idea of enmeshment in a relationship – closely internalised as ‘two bodies, one soul’ can do more harm than any good to your relationship in such distressful times. So, have faith and practice solitude when needed.
  • Negotiate the duration of your alone time – Each person has a different requirement for the time they need to be left alone. Work your way through this and stipulate ways like either doing groceries alone, watching a movie alone or simply being out of sight from each other in separate rooms.
  1. Re-discover Interests or Hobbies Together – Instead of blaming one another for not keeping things interesting and lit in your marriage, it’s time to initiate adding the element of fun in your life. Being quarantined with interest, hobbies, and a road map for leisure time that you can spend together makes life easier, smoother, and more relaxed! This may sound odd as being stuck together, you are expected to be with one another all the time. But rarely is that the case due as you are pre-occupied with domestic and other duties. This leaves you to the sole temptation of resorting to just Netflix and chill with one another. But, it’s time to snap out of it and think of activities you both can do together to bond.

Useful Tips:

  • Think Out Of The Box – Jog your brains and collectively make a list of a few things you both can do together apart from sleeping and watching TV. It could be cooking, baking, dancing, painting, exercising, or something as small as making a tik-tok together!
  • Take a Journey Down The Lane – Go back in time and think of all the things, games or activities you enjoyed as a child or a teenager. Figure out if you and your partner would still enjoy any of those. It could be watching childhood cartoons, playing Ludo or snakes and ladders, or anything that reconnects you with your partner to the experience of positivity associated with such activities.
  1. Be easy on your partner – As important as it is to share interests and hobbies, it is equally important to understand the value of giving one another a break from unrealistic expectations. Yes! It’s impossible to share all your interests! So don’t be overly optimistic in your demands and cut your partner some slack. It’s time to go easy on yourself and your partner too.

Useful tips

  • Embrace differences with a grain of salt – It is humanly not possible for two people to be completely alike. So don’t feel strayed to see other couples on social media cooking or dancing together, rather, focus on what you have – which is good enough!
  • Manage your time – It’s okay if your partner wishes to watch Tv while you want to read! What is important is to plan your day in a way that when one reads, another can watch Tv. This way, no harm is done, you both stay happy and get more time together and to yourselves! So this works out for the both of you! A win-win!
  1. Understand To Be Understood – It is ideal to model positive behaviour before demanding it from someone else. Etching this, it is good to first understand your partner, rather than merely expecting them to understand you. Conversations leaning towards criticism, blame, and attacks cause a vicious cycle of resentment and a tornado of emotions. On the contrary, with empathy and the intent to understand, you can experience the power of togetherness and companionship even amidst conflict.

Useful tips

  • Be mindful of your words – What you say to your partner can stay longer in their mind than you can imagine. So use kind words. There may be times when you feel that the food isn’t as delicious as it always is, your clothes aren’t ironed as well as they used to be, your house isn’t that spick and span as it should be, or you don’t have as much money to manage the kitchen as you used to. But, remember that this is the time for appreciation rather than undermining your partner’s efforts. So, acknowledge them for their help. Outweigh your criticism with gratitude.
  • Initiate to share the load of your partner’s shoulder – Talk about how you both can share various responsibilities. You can help them with the domestic load, the financial load, or you can help in the task of educating your children. Regardless, sharing responsibility works great in bringing two people together.
  • Unload your partner of the expectation to meet all your needs – Just like no on teacher can teach all subjects, its unreasonable to expect only one person, your partner, to meet all your needs! Sometimes you can turn to a friend, a sibling, or someone else to talk and share. At times, you need to embrace all the love in our life, i.e; of your friends, children and parents, to intensify your happiness, both individually and together as a couple.
  1. Be Responsive and Tender – Try to express your emotions freely with ease and comfort to your partner. Foster a warm and a non-defensive bond, where, you respond meaningfully to your partner’s needs. Remember that lack of affection and emotional responsiveness is a greater cause for a turbulent marriage than any conflict can ever be. So, be soft and kind in your approach. Being emotionally responsive is a work in progress and isn’t an ‘all-or-none’ characteristic.

Useful Tips:

  • Take charge of your emotions – Think before you react. It’s normal to feel disturbed at times, and in those moments, try to pause, think and acknowledge your feelings. It’s okay if despite that you end up saying something hurtful. But make amends early and often!
  • Be Respectful – Respect is the soul of any relationship. Speaking to your partner with as much respect and honesty as you’d like to be spoken to is the key. Be genuine and true to yourself. Showing respect to your partner for the person that he/she is, develops a positive sense of self in them and enhances the quality of your relationship.
  • Set boundaries for safe expression – Although it’s okay to express a range of emotions from positive to negative ones, there is a limit to how you can express these emotions. Talk about safe outlets where one can express negatively charged emotions – like hitting on a punching bag/pillow or an hour of rigorous exercise to vent your anger.
  1. Look At The Bright Side – Just like we dust and mop our house every day to ensure its shining, our relationship needs that too. So, instead of thinking about spaces where your relationship shows signs of wear, its good to invest your time and energy into maintaining them well. Focussing on the strengths, the positives, things you’re grateful for and the like enhances the quality of your relationship, improves communication and even leads to an experience of more positive emotions.

Useful Tips:

  • Reminisce your story – Sit down to talk about your story as a couple, focussing on all the positives – how you met and how far you both have come in your journey.
  • Express Gratitude – Its crucial to show how thankful you are for all the small things, big things and others in between. Practicing gratitude with one another strengthens your bond and changes the perspective with which you view your relationship, from being problem saturated to being more tenacious!
  • Pen down a ‘happy’ list – List down all the positive moments and events that you’ve experienced with your partner and include a few of their strengths and the adjustments they’ve made to make you feel good. Share this list with them and put it on your fridge with a magnet so you can look at it daily as a reminder of how things aren’t all that bad as you may feel otherwise.
  • Map your joy together – Co-create a chart of the simple things that you and your partner need to do for one another to make your happiness a greater reality! It can include simple desires like wishing your partner could have dinner with you without any arguments, or if they could throw their dirty clothes in the basket carefully. Little things have a big impact.

Take Away Message – Life during COVID-19 presents a distressful time for everybody. To step up in your marriage at this point requires you to bring care in place of bitterness and anger. Having little to no control over the environment, in no way implies that you don’t exercise control over what you make out of this time! And this is what truly counts because adversities do have the power to break you to the ground, but when battled together, they also have the latent power to unite you like never before.

This doesn’t imply that it’s going to be easy, but, if you implement a few of these strategies daily, your marriage will not only survive, it will emerge out stronger.

Undeniably, this phase too shall pass, what then is important is “If you will learn something valuable to reach out on the other side united and tougher or brittle and berated?” or “Will you use this time to grow together or grow apart?”

Choose your side wisely!

I wish you all things good and happy!

 

 

 

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