Why do some relationships get stronger, and some get weaker in traumatic circumstances? We often just don’t know how to strengthen relationships in challenging times.
I live in Northern NSW Australia, an area that has been recently battered by severe flooding, and after two years of the pandemic there are constant trials and troubles for people not only here, but everywhere.
As many have discovered it is our relationships and our communities, that turn out to be our biggest security in adversity. And yet tensions do rise in relationships as feelings of worry, anxiety and hopelessness increase.
And it is often the ones closest to us that suffer the brunt of the stress and exhaustion. We can easily revert to old habits of psychological protection as emotions surge. In ‘fight, flight or freeze mode’ we can be mistrustful of others, and anger, irritability and lashing out is common.
Here are 9 ways to strengthen your relationship in challenging times (that mostly apply to all close relationships).
- Seek to be kind and supportive, take care of each other.
- When you are triggered or upset, pause and slow down your breathing and breathe into your belly before acting or speaking. Calm yourself down.
- Show affection, touch each other, and surprise them with a gentle, slow hug. Increase the good feeling, when you are both ready, by making love in a gentle, tantric way that is healing and nourishing.
- Communicating your shared pain can be bonding as you face things together.
- Be aware that people cope and process differently with trauma. For example, one person may want to talk about what’s happening a lot (feminine mode), while the other partner may prefer not to talk at all for now (masculine mode). Respect the differences.
- Reach out to other people too for help and support, not just your partner, or one close person. Spread the load.
- Take time alone to replenish and regroup. If friends offer you massage and healing, take it. You will feel better and be able to give more in relationship.
- Look for what they are doing right and verbally appreciate them. This strengthens the relationship into a team of love and depth, resilient to the challenges.
- Saying “I Love you” often will go a long way.
People who do some, all or even one of these things have better outcomes.
with much love