Ah, those oh so familiar signs of summer! It can be frustrating to put up with the slow downs and detours that occur as road crews work to repair the potholes that developed during the winter, along with the general wear and tear of high traffic use. We also post “road work needed” signs in our relationships. These are the verbal and non-verbal cues we send to our partners and family members that their attention is needed. How well these cues are responded to is an important key to the health of the relationship.
Most pothole repair is accomplished with a simple patch, and most healthy relationships can also manage simple patches on their own. There are times when the damage to a road is so severe that it requires repair down to the bedrock. Similarly, in relationships the accumulated stress of our lives often leads us to neglect the small repairs until we suddenly seem to be losing our positive connection to each other; tension runs high and emotions are at the boiling point.
Here are some tips to consider:
- Don’t attempt road or relationship repair during rush hour. You’ve seen the barriers the road crews put up and we don’t need any additional barriers in our relationship. Wait for a calmer time when you can approach the concern feeling less stressed.
- When you feel the stress building, take a personal time-out for 10-15 minutes to practice some mindfulness techniques such as: listening to some calming music; practicing deep breathing and muscle relaxation; and meditation.
- Keep yourself focused on the concern, not on defending your position or blaming your partner. Tell how it affects you and how you feel about it, and then ask the same of your partner.
If you feel that there is a disconnect in your relationship, there probably is. Often brief patching of the relationship pothole is all that is needed. Sometimes major road work is required to repair the bedrock of a neglected relationship. Whatever the state of your relationship, we at Swinton & Associates Counseling are committed to help you succeed!