Stress test your relationship this New Year.
Melissa Ferrari talks here about how to deal with the 5 most common stress points in your relationship this New Year…
Being unhappy with your partner
Do some self-reflection. It's important to ask yourself is there something in my own life I am unhappy with or is it really my partner, be careful not to say or do things to drastically when actually it's the new boss or something you don't like about yourself that could be the issue rather than your partner.
Bring the issue up gently with your partner but be mindful of how it can hurt to hear that your partner is not happy with you.
Seek the help of a trained couple therapist if this issue gets serious and you don't start to feel happy with your partner again soon.
Dealing with work stress at home
Be willing to listen to concerns from your partner around work and if you can see it is really impacting them, then encourage your partner to seek counselling and support.
For those feeling stressed, look to create an environment in your mind on the way home to greet your family positively, meditate, play your favourite music, listen to a podcast or do a little exercise, whatever helps you to change gears from the stress of work to being with your family and limit the ‘shop’ talk at home and keep work emails to a minimum.
Bracket just ten minutes in the evening to check your work emails, don't be reading emails etc... for the whole night.
Keep your boundaries tight around talking to your partner about work all the time. If you are really struggling with stress at work, go to your HR department or see a good counsellor or therapist. Therapy can help your relationships at home by not burdening your partner too much with your own stresses from work.
If you have a partner who is happy to listen to you complain about your boss or work, go for it. It will go a long way to create trust and closeness between you both.
The pressures of parenting
Remember you are both in it together, you must have each other’s back as parenting can be difficult. We all come from different backgrounds and parenting can be difficult to agree on. Consider your partner's thoughts and perspective before you argue your point. The process of going face to face, reading each other and your intentions can be enough to help you both agree. Being truly heard and understood can go a long way to a partner making allowances for their partner and what they need to feel like a competent parent. Remember if your partner feels competent and happy in their parenting, they are going to be way more fun for you to be around unlike if they doubted themselves or even worse thought you doubted them.
Parenting can cause great anxiety in either one or both in a couple. Make room for some anxiety as just shutting down and not listening to your partners worries is not protecting each other with a difficult topic that needs love and care.
Do a credible parenting course together. Most couples need assistance in this area as there certainly is no manual on how to get it right and let's face it none of us were parented perfectly so there will always be a few gaps.
Issues around money can bring into question the issue of "fairness". If one of you does overspend and you know it, it would be wise to cut back particularly if you have a partner who is secretly resentful because they tend not to speak up about it.
When discussing issues around money it's important to put your relationship first. So, what that means is that neither of you put earning or spending money over the relationship. If this happens both will suffer.
Both must be willing to play fair around this issue. Money can be a central trigger for many particularly if they come from backgrounds with scarcity around money. For many, money can represent security and if you are with a partner that doesn't take the issue of money seriously this can create big problems.
Listen to your partner if they have concerns about money, be it around spending, planning or past habits they are concerned about. Both of you feeling secure about your joint decisions about money and how you spend it is very important.
If money is a major issue that disrupts your connection greatly it's important to seek some expert advice in this area.
Sex or the lack of it
Take turns to focus on each other sexually. Make it fair and make one of you the focus of receiving pleasure on different nights. That way you can look forward to it being your turn!
Understanding that in your relationship you will have different stages where sometimes there is more heat than other times in the bedroom. Couples need to remember that your sex life is the responsibility of both of you and keeping it alive with passion and connection is in your best interest so speaking up and discussing it is important and being a partner that makes it safe enough for your partner to speak up is part of being in a couple.
Don't put too much pressure on how much sex you are having as a couple. The number of times per week or month is not a reflection of the quality of your relationship. Even a couple that has sex every single night doesn't represent how happy they are, they may be terrible at managing conflict and communicating outside of the bedroom.
Mostly though be gentle with each other around this topic. It is a vulnerable subject so take some special care.
Melissa’s biggest tip is that if you are struggling in your relationship with any issues and it is making you doubt your future together, then get help by seeing a qualified counsellor you are both comfortable with before it is too late.
For more tips, daily quotes and information about love, dating, relationships and happiness visit my Facebook page Melissa Ferrari - Psychotherapist & Relationship Expert. Also available is information about couple therapy and how it can help your relationships.