1. Take breaks in conflict when you need them.
It can be tempting to spiral in arguments when things get heated. If you’re noticing that you feel really escalated, take a 30-minute break to check in with yourself, breathe, and come back to the discussion when you’re feeling more centered.
2. Tackle one conflict at a time.
Bringing in multiple argument topics can feel confusing and frustrating; by limiting your discussion to one issue at a time you can more completely discuss the issue and get closer to understanding the other person’s viewpoint.
3. Use ‘I’ statements whenever possible.
By owning your own feelings and perspectives, the conversation feels less accusatory and more productive. Using ‘I’ statements helps your partner understand where the relationship stress is coming from and how both of you can work together.
4. Express gratitude whenever possible.
Chances are both you and your partner are working a lot harder than before to get things done! Try to make overt expressions of gratitude when you see your partner doing something that you appreciate.
5. Take a moment to talk about what’s going well.
Even in the midst of all the chaos of our lives, it is important to acknowledge the things that cause relationship stress and things that are going well in spite of everything going on. Take a moment with your partner for each of you to verbally state what is going well in the relationship and the impact it has on you.
This is a challenging time that we are all living in. Be kind to yourself and to your partner, as we are all navigating something unfamiliar. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help when you need it!