One of the things I am passionate in addressing with women, mothers, couples, or whoever in a relationship wanders into my office, is how to deal effectively with stresses. I think stresses naturally occur in all relationships, whether that’s with a spouse, partner, parent, friend, child, or colleague. Often times, I hear the same complaint: that people do not feel heard, appreciated, or able to respond appropriately to whichever significant other they are associating with at the time. I’ve come up with 3 tips that I find to be basics to addressing most relationship stresses.
- Initiate: Sometimes, you have to be the one to make the first move. If you want patterns/habits to change, you can’t rely on the other person to set that into motion. Sometimes, you have to put pride aside and put yourself out there to ask for what you want.
- Communicate: I think this is self-explanatory, but if it isn’t said, then it can’t be heard. How many times does someone tell you that you never said something or that that’s not HOW you said something? If you want, need, expect others to hear you and respond they way you need, want, expect, then you have to think about how you say things (make sure you actually say them and aren’t just dwelling on them or thinking about them in your own mind) and how those messages are perceived by others (i.e. we don’t all think or receive info the same way, so follow up if you feel your significant other perceived a message differently than you meant).
- Deviate: If what you’re doing/saying isn’t working….change it! Give something new a try and see how it goes.
Relationships are HARD work. If you don’t nurture them, they don’t thrive. It is difficult sometimes to get stuck within ourselves and lose sight of others, particularly when we feel anxious, down, or just off. Give yourself permission to not always be together and to lean on others. But, don’t forget to listen when someone leans back your direction, too. Relationships are a balance of both.