Uncertainty, fear, and change in routine or way of life can have a positive or negative impact on the quality of our relationships. It is during these times that we need to engage our minds and hearts in the process of developing resilient relationships. All couples and families deal with stress and problems. It does not matter whether you’re poor or wealthy, there are struggles that everyone faces in day-to-day life. Day to day stress can fall into two categories, Normative or Non-Normative. Dealing with a pandemic is considered non-normative stress, or in other words an unpredictable or situational event. Unpredictable events can lead to crisis, but they do not have to as long as couples and families adapt to the changes brought about by the event. Healthy adaptation leads to resilient relationships.
What is a resilient relationship?
A resilient relationship is one that does not just temporarily adjust to a crisis, but uses it as an opportunity to adapt the nature of the relationship or family system long-term, Relationship and family adaptation is that degree that a relationship or family system alters its internal roles, rules, behaviors, and perceptions of the external reality to achieve a relationship or family environment that is a better fit.
Adaptation is not a short-term response to a crisis and requires that we change the way that we are doing things and evolve over a longer period. We need to allow relationship and family rules, the way we interact, the roles we play in the relationship/family, and our perceptions to change.
These changes can bring about positive differences in our relationships. Crisis events like the current global pandemic can cause us to evaluate the way that we are approaching life and allows us the opportunity to adapt in more efficient and meaningful ways.
In order to adapt in meaningful ways that build resiliency, here are a few suggestions:
Examine how you are using your resources:
- How have you been using tangible resources such as money, food, physical and mental health, education, technology, and time. Which of these things need to be reallocated to make more meaningful use of them?
- How have you been using intangible resources such as friendships, couple and family relationships, self-worth, and self-mastery. What areas need more attention currently in your life to ensure that these resources are available to you in the future.
Examine and adjust how you are using your capabilities:
- How are you using your mental and physical capabilities? Are there talents or other capabilities that can be developed or refocused as a result of a changing world. Your spouse/partner and children have different capabilities and skills that can be tapped into during these difficult times. If you’re trapped at home, have a brainstorming session with your partner and/or children and come up with new things you have never experienced before at home. For instance, you can gather household items and see who can build the best structure. Have you ever tried making homemade pasta or making homemade salt dough and seeing who can sculpt the best self-portrait?
Examine and highlight your strengths:
- What are your current relationship and family strengths? Instead of focusing on where you are weak, focus on how your strengths can be highlighted to help you overcome challenges in life. How can your current challenges be turned into strengths?
We need to remember that in relationships we are on the same team. Going at each other’s throats because of our current struggles is not going to help us or our loved ones get through a pandemic crisis or anything else in life. A lot of wasted energy is used on fueling our fear rather than focusing on the things that we can change and that we do have some sort of control over.
Choose to adapt! Choose to become more resilient! If you are struggling with doing this please consider seeking professional help with a couple therapist or a family therapist in Salt Lake County.