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Lately, I’ve wondered how everyone is adjusting to the many changes that this roller coaster of a year has presented us. In many of my recent journal excerpts, I have noted my increasing gratitude for Juan and our partnership. Having him by my side is how I’ve managed to navigate these challenging times with hope —striving to become the best version of myself.

This pandemic has supervened in revealing the core of our relationships. You may feel that blaming COVID is a justifiable cause of your problems. However, some couples have drawn closer while others have separated. 

Hopefully, this is the worst crisis that we will face in our lifetime. If we are to endure tough times like these in the future, we are now learning who we can count on for a lifetime. Through thick and thin.

Partnership Starts With You

Working on ourselves means putting ourselves first so that we can show up for our partners. I love this quote by Mario Quintana.

“Don’t wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul.”

Mario Quintana
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Sometimes we forget that we are the ones at the steering wheels, navigating the map of our own lives. Someone in the passenger seat can support us, but they can’t change how we respond to bumps in the road.

A partner can’t magically transform their S.O. into a happier person. The reality is that a partner’s love is supposed to complement the love that we show ourselves.

Spend More Time on What Makes You Feel Alive

What I’m learning is that hobbies and learning new skills are essential for building a meaningful life. No matter how old you are or at what stage you are in life. You may have a jam-packed schedule or extra time on your hands. Either way, carving out a little time each day to do something that rocks your socks is a recipe for a prosperous life.

Having more time to cook, read, study Spanish, and journal are a few things that I’m grateful to incorporate into my “new” schedule. Even if I can’t fit them each day, there’s at least a list to remind me of all that I have to look forward to in the future.

It’s Time to Invest

Realizing that mental health truly is wealth is what keeps me invested in my therapy journey. Therapy online has become more widely available. Thus, getting support from a professional can be done from the comfort of your own home. 

I have recently started Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) therapy and have learned a lot in just four sessions.

Although the cost of therapy isn’t cheap, it’s well worth the investment and will help you work through obstacles and build resiliency. I have struggled to convey my feelings effectively, especially during tough times like these. Yet, I’ve come to understand that it’s a skill developed throughout a lifetime. 

Practicing putting feelings into words and being vulnerable are things that counseling provides a safe and non-judgemental space. 

Playing on the Same Team

Have each other’s backs. Know that there will be good days and bad; This, of course, applies to B.C (before corona) and A.C. as well. One of you may have a few bad days weeks even. 

If you are genuinely committed to the person you’re with, try to exercise patience. Providing extra love and support is an act of true love that will be returned when you’re feeling just as hopeless and depressed. 

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Learning how to communicate better is key for all relationships. Especially those that strive beyond the honeymoon phase.

What has helped us so far is setting aside time to address any issues weighing on our hearts. We have created a safe space for the two of us to connect and work through any personal or relationship problems together; Limiting criticism and exercising compassion.

By putting this on our calendars, we allow ourselves time to prepare for the uninterrupted time together. I like to prepare myself by self-reflecting and revisiting written thoughts or concerns to address during our sit-down time. It’s an excellent way to process what’s churning in the noggin so that communication can flow more effectively.

Speaking of Quality Time

You and your partner may have been spending a lot more time together than usual. Take advantage of this time to challenge and improve your relationship. 

Breaking free from the mundane routine may include getting creative with your backyard dates. Try something new instead of sticking to the regular movie rental route.

  • Surprise each other with thoughtful notes or by baking a delectable dessert.
  • Enjoy background music while sipping wine and painting.
  • Motivate each other to try a new online workout.
  • Find an organization to donate the money you would’ve spent at a movie theatre that resonates with both of your values.
  • Volunteer your time to help animals like walking shelter animals (think social distance friendly).
  • Educate yourselves on the candidates for this year’s election Psst! It’s right around the corner. 

Finding new and different ways to spice it up can help avert the negativity that tough times often bring.

Communication is a Work in Progress

Patience and consistent effort are required to be compassionate and understanding. For instance, you can offer a shoulder to cry on, but that doesn’t make you responsible for managing anyone else’s feelings but your own.

Keeping in mind that our partners don’t need to have all the correct solutions relieves both people’s pressure. We expect our partners to support us, but it’s unfair of us to get upset if they don’t come up with the responses we were hoping for on command.

Most of the Time We’re Simply Yearning to be Heard More Than Anything

Finally, when working to prevent miscommunication, a real game-changer is to practice active listening. I’m learning that this requires taking a step back and allowing the other person to speak. Once they’ve had their chance to share, you can rephrase and clarify your understanding of what they said. It might go a little something like this.

“You expressed that you are feeling stuck and need some time to meditate on this situation. I also understand that you want some more time to yourself in the afternoons. Is that correct?”
The other person then has the platform to confirm or re-explain. In this scenario, both people set themselves up for a more civil interaction instead of the blame game.

Approaching our partners with the desire to understand and learn from them isn’t always easy, especially when we go into it thinking we’re not at fault. But by doing so, it’s a win for both parties.

Cheers to all the long-lasting, committed relationships that challenge us in difficult ways but also in the best ways. The path we have chosen to share with our partners enables us to grow together and as individuals.
See you in the next post. And until then, love yourselves and your partners.

See you in the next post. And until then, love yourselves and your partners.

Wendy
A spunky goofball with a great love for animals and moving her body. Genuinely empathetic and in touch with her emotions. Wendy always knows how to bring the best out of people while entertaining them with her quirks and extraordinary art and photography talent.

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