Relationships are co-created and they are based on mutual understandings and agreements.
When the lifestyle changes, relationships are the main subject that are affected by this changes. I would like to recall a past change in everybody`s life such as a new job, or a new hobby you developed. It surely got to create changes in your relationships as well, you created new relationships and you disconnected from some existing ones, you developed new habits and everything around you had to be adapted. In a fast changing environment, people have to be proactive so that they can make sure they are growing and progressing. If everything around us is changing continuously we are changing as well, that means that our relationship should change so that we can keep a strong connection and continue to belong to that relationship. Focusing on the actual situation in the world, many couples and families have changed dramatically their living style, and if their relationships don`t change to adapt this new situation, conflict is a possible scenario.
What can we do to maintain our relationship strong and healthy?
You can understand that it is the moment to intervene and start making some changes in your relationship when you feel that the previous agreements and understandings are not enough in the present, they need to be reconsidered and adapted to your actual situation from time to time.
There are 3 steps that need to be taken when you are working to adapt a relationship to new conditions:
1- Where are you right now?-Define the actual Understandings and Agreements
Understandings and agreement are the answers to questions such as:
Who does What? What is our way of doing things? What are the responsibilities of each one? What do you need from this relationship to feel evaluated?
2- What`s the goal- Identify what needs to be improved.
This is a crucial step in the relationship development, discussions tend to become toxic when people start pointing fingers and criticizing. To make this a constructive discussion always aim to speak in first person by referring to your own feelings and actions, also express your requests instead of your complaints. Remember it takes everyone to be involved in order to make it happen so do your best to dedicate at least the same amount of time to listening as you do to speaking.
3- Take Action-Start the process of change
Once you have identified what are the changes that you need to make in the way your relationship works it is important to keep in mind that the process will not be a linear one, there will be steps forward and steps backward, changes in relationships are more complex and they need time and effort by all the pairs involved. Make it possible to check up from time to time how is this process going and feel free to celebrate the progress. Give time and show compassion because meaningful relationships are built on trust and respect, make them visible in the way you communicate and behave.
The pandemic situation in the world can affect your relationships in different ways. If you find out that this situation has improved your relationship, it means that you are aware of the importance of communication and shared agreements and understandings and you are making the best out of this time together. Congratulations and keep the good work going!
For other people who feel like this situation is damaging their relationship and they escalate into conflict, keep in mind that there is energy in conflict. People who engage in conflict are people who care about their relationships and they are willing to make it better even though they don`t always achieve it. Make use of the energy that shows up in conflict by turning it into a constructive interaction, listen deeply, don`t criticize and express your requests. Be kind with yourself and your relationship, this is an extraordinary situation and it is totally normal to feel overwhelmed and reflect it back. In the mean time if handled properly this challenge can result into great learnings that will create more connection and build trust in your relationship for the future. As I started in the beginning it is important to remember that great things in life are co-created and you have all the means to make yours a great relationship in any circumstance!