There is good news and bad news when it comes to relationships with the pandemic. Most families and couples say that they have experienced severe stress during this time, while at the same time they are reporting deeper and more meaningful times together as well. In this blog, my friend, Lu Williams, reminds us that communication is critical. Lucille Williams is an excellent writer and communicator. You can read more of her blogs and learn about her resources at LuSays.com.
Domestic violence calls have been up since the coronavirus pandemic. It’s no wonder with the extra time together, stress, and challenges we’ve all faced as things boil up what’s inside is bound to come out.
Relationships have taken their toil and been tested through this season—either we’ve gotten stronger and feeling more content, or our wedges have gotten larger and satisfaction quotas have gone down.
Not matter where you are improving communication will help.
Since most of us have had more time with our loved ones we can use this time to improve our relational skills and practice a few easy steps.
- Listen. It’s so tempting to think about what it is we want to communicate instead of listen to what the other person is saying. If a loved one seems irritated or unsettled take time to listen to what is going on with them. We don’t need to fix anything, just listening to another will help them. When people are in support groups there are rules of engagement, and one is that there is no cross talk, as in, you can’t give input while another person is sharing. No one tries to fix another, everyone listens. Support groups are so effective, and what all the people in the group need to do is listen as members share. Listening to another talk “heals” them. Find people who can listen—without input—and be someone who listens. This model has been a proven way for us to thrive in our lives.
- Don’t get defensive. When listening to a loved one refrain from becoming defensive. Now, I know this can be hard when we feel like we are responsible for what the other is saying, but more often than not, what is being said has nothing to do with us and everything to do with them. When listening take a step back and do your best to understand the other’s angst and feelings.
- Process. When it is time to respond to a loved one, take time to process what you’ve heard and consider the other person’s perspective. Looking through another’s eyes in a situation will not only help us to understand but also give us the ability to empathize with them.
- Respond in love. This can sometimes be the hardest step. It’s so easy to react instead of respond. I will often find myself telling myself to “breathe” and take a beat. You’ll be surprised how incredibly effective this one simple thing is. Breathe. Think. Respond in love.
“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
If this season has proven to overwhelm you and things are boiling up to a point where life seems out of control, would you consider reaching out for professional help? You’ll be glad you did, and your family will be even more glad.