You have two choices in this time of lockdown. It can be a period of significant growth for your relationship, or it can be a period of great struggle.
To date, our relationships have survived well because we can have time outside of the family home. We go to work, and we have hobbies which allow us to have a time of separation from our partners. However, in the current lockdown environment, many people aren’t going to work and can’t do their hobbies that occur outside of the home. As a result, we are in more contact with our partners than we ever have been.
So when partners are now staying home all day and night, any weakness in the relationship will be magnified. One of the concerns at this time is how conversations will start to turn to every bad thing that’s happened in the relationship to this point in time.
This is called the negativity effect where our brain has the tendency to respond more strongly to negative events and emotions rather than to positive ones.
The negative event is known to have at least three times the impact of a positive event. That means for every negative event we need to be able to focus on three positive events.
At present, negative events are overwhelming as we are being bombarded by news services telling us mostly what is wrong at the moment.
At this time, we need to be trying to create more positive moments.
Try making a list of your partner’s traits that you love. Try to find one thing per day that you appreciate that your partner does. Be sure you find a different thing each day. Tell your partner what you admire about them.
Secondly, you can achieve an even more significant impact by minimising or eliminating negative actions and negative thoughts about your partner and any children in your family.
In most relationships, fortunately, the multitude of small good moments make up for the more powerful bad ones. You can always create more enjoyable moments.
However, emphasising the positive will only do so much. Because of the greater power of the negative, you can have a more significant impact by eliminating both negative actions and thoughts about your partner.
Concentrate on avoiding basic mistakes. One thing that crops up a lot with families is that very little credit is given when we deliver more than we said we would, but if we deliver less there is a significant annoyance. It is much better to promise less and over-deliver. If you know, you can’t get it done don’t say that you will.
Try to understand what your partner is saying from their point of view. Just because you can’t see what they’re talking about doesn’t mean that their position is invalid. You need to be able to deal with their reaction to the situation even though you think it’s rational. If you don’t respond in a way where you are trying to understand their point of view, then things will escalate out of control very quickly.
Be aware that something your partner does may trigger you. Try to think logically about what’s happening and ask questions to clarify what you think is happening.
You have the possibility for this to be a period of strengthening of your relationship.
If you need help with this, call us on 07 3458 1725. We are the relationship experts and can guide you through this lockdown period and beyond.
Counselling is now being offered by Telehealth (Zoom video conferencing) and phone.