By: Janet Bayramyan   |   Lucid Lane 

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Writing this in 2021, we all now know the many struggles individuals and couples faced during a global pandemic. We have had experiences of fear, isolation, too much distance in partnerships, even too much closeness in partnerships, and more. We are no longer strangers to challenging times.

Moving forward, here are 6 ways we can nurture our relationships through very challenging and difficult times.

1. Identify what needs improvement

This step is incredibly important. You may notice you are in a rut in your relationship and might not even know why. However, if we can get down to the "nitty gritty" and identify what isn't going well, we can find a place to start taking steps for the better. For example, are we not communicating well? Do we lack empathy? Have we lost the intimate connection for a while? It's important that we identify what needs to be improved upon in order to identify possible solutions.

2. Keep the lines of communication open

Positive, open ended communication is easy to overlook and can also be challenging during times of stress and high conflict. I encourage intentional dialogue with clients in order to improve and strengthen communication with the following steps: Mirroring, Validating, and Empathizing.

  • Mirroring is reflecting back what was said without interpreting or adding to what was said. "What I am hearing you say is..." "If I am hearing you correctly,..."
  • Validating is letting the person know that his/her view makes sense, even if you disagree with it. "I can understand that."
  • Empathizing is acknowledging how the individual feels about the issue. "I imagine you must feel as though..."

It's important for couples to take turns communicating what they feel and need without judgment in order to establish a sense of emotional safety and security in the partnership. Respecting different perspectives even during a disagreement is the foundation for creating emotional safety in partnership.

3. Create relationship quality time

How easy is it to get lost in the shuffle of work, kids, and the busyness of our day-to-day lives? It's easy for date night and quality time in the relationship to turn into being the last priority in our lives, and it's easy for couples to lose touch with one another during difficult times. By continuing to cultivate love, respect, and kindness for each other on a daily basis, couple relationships can be strong and happy. Setting aside time with your spouse on a consistent basis or having weekly dates to talk and reconnect helps nurture relationships. Making time for each other and spending quality time together are like putting deposits in your relationship bank account, which can make relationships healthier, happier, and longer lasting.

4. Keep the intimacy alive & going

Similar to the importance of relational quality time, it's important to keep intimacy alive. Sex helps us connect emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally. Whether you've been with someone for 1 year or 10 years, it's important to create novelty, romance, and newness in your sexual and intimate relationship. It never hurts to try something new and get out of the same routine in order to create more fun and newness in your physical relationship.

5. Schedule quality "me" time

If your partner is also your best friend, chances are you spend a lot of time together and do many things together. But no matter how tempting that is, try to refrain from doing everything with your significant other, and occasionally make time to do some things alone. When you’re constantly with someone and making decisions together, it can translate into tension or unnecessary arguments. It can also create codependency in the relationship, resulting in unhealthy habits such as constant need for approval from your partner. It's important to give yourself the opportunity to focus on your own happiness at the moment. This isn’t a selfish act, rather, the balance of some healthy “me” time is something that ultimately leads to a healthier relationship.

6. Remember why you are both together

Remember why you and your partner fell in love. Remember the best moments together such as how you met, the first date, the first time you said “I love you,” and the moment you knew this was the person for you. Remembering these factors can help revive your relationship when it feels incredibly challenging. Reminding ourselves of these factors can bring us back to the foundation that has been created in the relationship and remind us that the relationship is worth fighting for.

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Find Janet and Lucid Lane at https://www.lucidlane.com/

Lucid Lane is dedicated to empowering people with pain and substance use to live a better & healthier life.

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Disclaimer: Blunovus content is not therapy and is not designed to diagnose or treat any condition you may be experiencing. Please contact a medical or mental health professional for treatment that is specific to your needs.