I have to be honest… I sometimes don’t appreciate my relationship for the amazing thing that it is. I mean… I always feel grateful to have Matt, but there are times where I just sort of forget how wonderful we are together. Until a disaster happens.
haha. What? Sounds crazy right?
Yup. We are the BEST at handling insanity.
This weekend we were hit with some really bad news. It started with a toilet… and a bathtub – and a lot of gross icky water that just decided it didn’t want to leave the house. Yeah… total clog in the pipes. Let me rewind a minute.
We’ve been spending all this time getting excited about decorating our special fireplace room (I wrote about last week in this post) and we’ve been getting super excited about buying a beautiful couch for the space and brainstorming the home decor we want to buy. So just as we are finishing up our project repainting the room, and we’re having all these day dreaming exciting feel good vibes, when suddenly we are hit with a big big expense: time t fix a crushed water pipe.
Matt instantly felt stressed. And overwhelmed. And really sad. And I thought to myself, “Is this the end of the honeymoon home owner phase?”
Nope. We rocked it. Totally rocked it. What was total disaster turned into an amazing moment where I felt so loved and appreciated by my man and was able to help pull him out of that crazy funk in no time. And just like that – we were happy again.
And today I’m talking about it. (Sorry Matt.)
How to Fight off the Stress in a Relationship And Start Feeling the Love Instead
Let’s face it. All relationships have tough times. No matter how close to perfect a relationship is, there are times when life throws us a curve ball and we need to handle the stress together with our partner as a team. Not every stressful moment needs to end in screams and crying and door slamming. In fact – I don’t actually think Matt and I have had a fight like that in years.
Recognize The problem is neither one of you.
If it’s a situation where “it is what it is,” the last thing you want to do is start blaming each other. In my old relationships – when something unexpected happened – financial expenses, random unexpected car repairs, even death in the family (yes we fought then too) we would constantly take our stress out on one another. This is why that relationship is my “past relationship.” When stressful times came, we were quick to point the finger at one another just to feel better about our anxiety. When it comes to a stressful situation where both partners feel anxiety and pressure from a third party experience (Something happening outside the relationship – aka money problems, unexpected craziness, and life challenges) The last thing you want to do is stop working as a team. Because seriously – turning on each other doesn’t accomplish anything. Recognizing that the situation is something you are both feeling overwhelmed about is a great first step. Realizing no one is to blame is even better.
Identify your partners needs (even if they are different than yours.)
A while back, when Matt and I started dating, we talked about this. “When you are stressed out, do you want me to be there for you to talk to? Or do you want me to walk away?” I am the type of person that needs that direct connection and shoulder to cry on when things go wrong. Matt isn’t. He needs space. So when things went wrong this weekend and I started seeing him get frustrated, I walked over to him and told him. “I will be upstairs if you need anything. I’m not ignoring you, I am just giving you space.” I knew that was what he needed. And he came to me when he was ready.
This goes back to the Love Languages and the importance of understanding your partner’s needs. Just because you are together and love each other and connect well, does not necessarily mean that you need the same things in times of stress.
Pick your role: One person is the rescuer and one person is the one who needs saving.
Every stressful situation between me and Matt is unique. There are times where Matt won’t see something as big deal and I’m the one freaking out. There are times when the roles are reversed. And then there are times where we are BOTH stressed out and BOTH longing to have a rock to support us. No matter what the situation, you need to identify who is going to be the guiding voice of calmness during stress (there needs to be one of you.) Here’s how I usually decide who is who: If my emotions are way too strong to handle – I am the one who needs to rely on Matt. But if I can be optimistic about something and really see that things “aren’t so bad,” I harness that energy and decide that I’m going to be the one pulling us out of our emotional hard place. Deciding what your role is going to be makes a huge difference.
Be the cool super hero you know your partner needs (not the one you want to be.)
When you decide that you are the one who is going to lead you out of the tough time, you need to do it in a way that your partner understands. The best analogy I can give for this is like trying to make a baby laugh and doing a bunch of different things to see what works. When Matt is stressed, I try my best to do the things I know he needs: be logical, make jokes, and act carefree. If he did those things with me when I am sad or stressed I would probably punch him in the face.. That is not the super hero attitude I need when I am having tough time. But that’s what works for Him and that is what he needs. Finding out what makes your partners stress and worry goes away is the key to being that amazing rock of support when he needs it. And the same goes for you – when you are stressed – he needs to be that super hero you know and trust.
So What happened after our stressful situation?
I never really sat down and wrote out these steps until now… But I realize how important they are to being a great partner and working as a team. The minute the stress melted away Matt gave me the biggest hug and told me how great I was – how much he needed that support and how well we work together.
Damn straight we are.
Calm down.. we aren’t super special… we just follow these steps really well!