We can all confidently agree that love takes work. Hard work, in fact, especially during the MCO when as individuals, we’re living day to day with uncertainty, grief, and a whole host of feelings that are hard to process. Some of us are lucky to have our partners with us physically for emotional support, but in continuously working on strengthening, appreciating — and dare we say, surviving each other — it’s important not to take your relationship for granted right now. Love & Relationships Coach, Hannah Lo, shares her tips for couples during the lockdown and again, remember that love takes work.
It’s not about being right, it’s about being understanding
Arguments escalate and stay unresolved when we don’t feel understood or heard. In trying so hard to be heard we often push to be right and get our points across. Rather than evoking understanding it causes our partners to become defensive and hostile. So instead be the one that puts your sword of rightness down and offer to listen wholeheartedly to how your partner is feeling without judging or making them wrong. I often say whether I agree or not, I can understand why you might feel that way.
Take a breather and give each other space
When we’re upset and emotions are raging it’s extremely hard to see sense or reason. That’s ok and totally normal. Give each other space and some time to let the intensity subside and when there’s more internal calm, then address the issue together.
Turn assumptions into clarity
Assumptions are like a glass tinted wall that keeps you both on opposite sides unable to see each other clearly. It happens so often in arguments because our emotions block us from hearing or speaking the truth with clarity. To dispel assumptions when things have calmed down, ask your partner; ‘Could you explain exactly what you meant by that?’, ‘This is what I heard you say, is that accurate/ Did I hear you right?’, ‘I assumed X, was I wrong?’. Staying open to their answers until the assumptions are dispelled.
It’s never about what they did or didn’t do
It’s never about the household chores not being done or the way he/she looked at that man or woman. It’s always about what it makes you feel and the meaning you assign to it. Which may or may not be true. For example: he doesn’t appreciate me or I’m afraid she’s going to leave me. If you can identify this, share it with your partner, stay open that it may not be true and you’ll start to get to the bottom of what the argument is really about.
Your feelings are your responsibility
No one can make you feel anything. One of the hardest and most freeing lessons of all. If we feel anger, frustration or sadness for example in relation to a particular experience it’s because those feelings already exist within us. It’s because we have trauma, wounds, beliefs and childhood programming that when triggered bring up uncomfortable emotions that we weren’t able to fully feel and let go of at the time. Taking responsibility means addressing your own feelings without blaming another person or expecting them to take them away for you and then doing the internal work to heal and release them. If you start practicing this everyday, you will literally change your life.