For the past year, the pandemic has tested numerous relationships and their ability to communicate during stressful and unhappy times. People all over the world are dealing with the additional pressures of COVID-19 and its effect on their employment, health, and financial situation. For many people, keeping these stresses from bleeding into their relationship is near impossible. Peter Sandhill MA, a life and personal effectiveness coach, recognizes the impact COVID-19 has had on couples and strives to educate his clients and the public on the importance of productive communication. To this end, Mr. Sandhill will share his advice for couples looking to strengthen their communication during the pandemic.
Tell your Partner what you Need
One of the biggest pitfalls of any relationship’s communication is when someone doesn’t communicate what they need. When people are unhappy, they often can stay silent to avoid confronting their feelings. However, in a relationship, people can take their partner for granted and assume their partner should know the reason they are upset. Peter Sandhill suggests communicating your feelings openly and honestly while keeping a respectful tone. If you are upset and do not know why, it is okay to tell your partner you don’t understand why. Ask for what you need, whether it’s space, extra attention, or just their understanding.
When people are experiencing hardship, it can be challenging to give to others. However, if you and your partner are going through tough times together, it is important to stay open and willing to help your partner when they ask for it. Helping your partner does not mean fixing their problems for them, nor should it be expected. Your partner may be going through serious stress, such as unemployment or financial hardship. It is important to listen to them talk about the stress they are going through. Often a partner is simply looking to vent or feel understood, and by listening, you can provide them the comfort they are asking for. These are some of the key components of building a healthy relationship, says Peter Sandhill.
Don’t Look to “Win” an Argument
It is important to approach an argument with a partner as an opportunity to solve a problem together. The goal should always be to communicate with your partner in a respectful and calm manner and solve whatever disagreement you two are having. Being in a couple means the two members are a team; if one takes the approach that winning the argument is most important to them, it will make reaching a middle ground exponentially more difficult.