Man was not created to be alone. It is natural for us to long for a partner to form a meaningful relationship with. However, since these are two people with different genetic markers, family background, culture and a lot more, conflicts are sure to crop up time and time again! Definitely, this is not part of our relationship goals!
When we are stressed, our body activates its fight or flight response as an act of self-preservation. We react by either getting aggressive or running away and building walls around our ego to protect ourselves. How do you react when you are under stress? Do you know what your attachment style is? How about your partner?
The problem with stress in relationships is it can be deep-seated. What stresses us now could just be the tip of the iceberg. This sustained psychological stress is linked to depression, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. We surely do want to suffer from these lifestyle diseases!
Stress can also slowly eat up the foundation in your relationship. If you do not know how to use stress to your advantage, it may break down something which was once beautiful. Think about all the investment and sacrifices you have put into your relationship! Surely, you want to do everything in your power to keep things together!
I know that your heart is weary and your spirit is weak right now, but running away from our troubles is not a mature way of addressing our problems. We need to stay and work things out. This is the only way we can prove that we value our partner above all else. If you feel alone and on the verge of giving up, it is good to remind yourself that you are not alone in this challenging times. There are actually two people involved. You and your partner.
How invested you are in the relationship will be tested through your dedication in finding a sweet spot for the both of you. Restoring harmony in a relationship is a bit challenging, but the process is full of self-discovery. It is an optimal growth period for both of you. Now, face your stressors head on and find solutions. Here are 10 ways to deal with stress in your relationship and improve the love you have for each other.
1. Focus on the beauty.
Instead of worrying, shift your attention to something that you find beautiful in your relationship. Observe and find out the qualities that you find positive and beautiful in it. Write it all down and send it to your partner as a love letter.
According to a study done, focusing on beauty or the positives enhances a person’s emotional well-being. Doing so makes us more hopeful and resilient (Fredrickson & Joiner, 2002). Each time you catch yourself complaining, divert your mind on the things that you cherish in your relationship. Think positive and be grateful for them.
2. Practice mindfulness.
Do not keep on reminding your partner about the past hurts. Do not go ahead of yourself as well by creating worst case scenarios in your head. Enjoy the present instead and do the best that you can today for a better tomorrow. To stay grounded in the present, pay attention to what your senses are experiencing.
Describe what you are feeling, seeing, smelling, hearing and tasting, and journal it. This shifts your attention away from your worries. It would also help if you purge all your thoughts and write them down in a journal. Mindfulness allows you to step out of the current situation and see it with a fresh perspective.
3. Find the lesson.
Whatever you are going through right now may make you or break you. Do you want to grow from the experience or will you allow it to destroy you? It is only you who can make this decision. Make this experience a life lesson from you and do not forget the takeaways you got!
4. Stop overthinking and overanalyzing.
Doing this takes the peace and joy out of today. When we overthink and overanalyze we start to believe in the lies we tell ourselves. This only causes confusion which leads us to make bad decisions. If we start noticing that we are overthinking and overanalyzing again, remind yourself of the truths in your relationship. Use these truths to anchor you down.
5. You cannot control everything.
Learn to accept events and the people around you without the need of changing them. Take a deep breath, relax and trust in the process. Let go of things that are out of your control and go with the flow. If you need to make decisions, do not base it on fear but on hope. Have confidence in the future.
No matter how tough the times are for both of you, remember to touch base with each other several times a day. Both of you are not mind readers so find time to be on the same page. Start and end each day with hugs and kisses even if you do not feel like it. Kissing triggers the production of love hormones. This hormone gives us the warm and fuzzy feeling of love, safety and trust. Once you start this daily habit, all the loving feeling will follow.
Do not stop smiling and laughing together. Do not sleep without catching up on your successes and troubles for the day. Make time to be together and even go on a date. Make new memories and get to know your partner more by asking open-ended questions.
7. Communicate effectively.
Men and women communicate differently. Share your feelings and concerns with your partner. Expect that some conversations may be difficult but remember to show care throughout. Talk to him sweetly and respectfully. Recognize the facts, actively listen and objectively evaluate the outcomes of any decisions you will make.
8. Have hope.
Everything is temporary. Know that this too shall pass and our God will never leave you nor forsake you. Set goals together and identify the steps you have to take to make it happen. Learn to trust and wait for the the things that are yet to come.
9. Be kind.
Try to de-escalate the situation you are in by practicing empathy and forgiveness. Apologize for your actions and attitude and your partner will appreciate it. Recognize that you are not alone in this situation. This not about you. Your partner is hurting too. Try to understand where your partner is coming from. His actions may have been influenced by past experiences that you are not aware of.
Get to know his love language as well. Is it through time, acts of service, gifts, touch or words of affirmation? Find out and practice it.
10. Have quite time together.
As a couple, seek God first. Read the Bible and listen to what God is telling you through the scriptures. Pray together and tell God your petitions. Philippians 4:6 says “Turn your worries into prayers.” Even when everything seems dark and gloomy, turn to God and worship him for His goodness. Growing together spiritually can do wonders for your marriage!
Do not allow pride, hostility, hurt and injustice to ruin something beautiful that you have built for a couple of years. You are a team! Both of you are responsible to address the root cause of your stress and provide solutions. When both of you survive through this hard times, you will see that both of you has grown stronger and wiser.
The way a couple kiss and makeup reflects how much love and trust they have for each other. It also says a lot about the quality and stability they have in their relationships. Your struggle right now will be a story one day. It may be a sad ending or a “you may live happily ever after”. And how it ends would depend on how you both decided on the ending.