We go through seasons in life just as nature does. Sometimes we are starting fresh, growing and developing. Other times we are pulling back and needing some time to be still and quiet. Our relationships are no different. Sometimes they feel fresh, alive and full of passion. Other times we go through a season where we feel disconnected, alone and wonder what our future holds. Life transitions of any kind such as job loss, new baby or moving can be an opportunity for growth, but it can also cause stress and problems in our relationships. Challenging times can affect the stability of our relationship. We may go through a tough season together where something happens that affects both individuals in the partnership. Job loss, a new baby, moving, or problems with our children are just a few examples. Sometimes only one partner is going through a difficult period in life, but this still affects the relationship. How we deal with these seasons can bring us closer or pull the relationship apart.
These seasons require patience, understanding, perspective and focus in order to navigate them successfully. If the situation is something that is affecting both partners, remember that everyone handles challenging times in different ways. It is important to respect that. We can get angry when we do not agree on the situation or the solution. We can feel unloved if our partner is not there for us in the way we need. Remember that this requires understanding and patience. We need to understand that our partner wants to be there for us but may not be able to at the moment. They may need all their energy to deal with the situation. Some people ban together for support during trying times, and others prefer to be alone. Share what you can, and then if you need more than your partner can give, it is time to expand your support system and reach out to others such as friends, family or counselors. It is essential to not blame your partner or become angry with them for dealing with stress in a different way than you do. We need extra understanding during tough times. If only one partner is going through a difficult season, it can be hard to watch them suffer and not be able to help. We can offer our support but also need to give them the space to deal with the situation in their own time and their own way.
One thing you can do proactively during these times is to not let the situation be your only focus. I know this can be hard sometimes, but it is important to remember the good things about your partner and your life. Spending at least some time each day focusing on the positives will really help you get through this cycle in your relationship. Remember all the good things you can still share, and make time to do so. It is ok to put whatever problems you have aside for a time and enjoy each other. I know it might not be the same as it was before, but keeping this connection is crucial for your relationship. It helps you to keep a positive perspective. It is a season, and it will pass in time.
All relationships go through these ups and downs. Our perspective is what makes the difference in how we come out of them. By showing our partner love and acceptance, we can develop an even stronger bond. We will be ready to share in the good times when they reappear, and we can appreciate them even more, together!
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Lori Ann Davis, MA, CRS
Certified Relationship Specialist