A high-risk pregnancy or a baby in the NICU is a tremendous stressor and can place significant strain on your marriage.
Many couples experience a lot of conflict during this already stressful time. You may be fighting more frequently or seeing fights escalate faster.
You might be spending less and less time apart, doing your own thing. It's possible you feel like your partner doesn't get you at all.
And truthfully, your partner may feel the same about you.
To maintain a connection during this stressful time, it's important that there be open communication between the two of you.
It's the only way to share with each other how you're feeling (it's likely you both have no idea what the other is going through!) and how you can support each other best.
Conversations don't have to erupt into verbal boxing matches.
Your life is extremely stressful right now. Relationship stress doesn't have to be a part of it.
Get back to being on the same time fighting for your baby instead of fighting each other
It is possible to learn to communicate better even when you're going through an intensely stressful time.
When you have those conversations over and over and over where they start out ok but somewhere along the way you are arguing and fighting and yelling at each other, that that stress can last with you for days after the argument’s over and after you think you've moved on. Our bodies hold on to that stress for a long time.
And when you get into that cycle it makes you feel anxious to speak to your partner about sensitire issues or anything at all. Because you’re afraid of another blow up.
So here are 4 steps to improve your communication for a less stressful and much happier and healthier relationship.
1) Listen. Really listen.
Don’t be thinking about a comeback or what you’re going to say next Ask questions if you need to clarify something but otherwise just clear your mind and really hear what the other is trying to say.
Repeat back what you heard. Make sure there was nothing lost in translation. This not a time to interpret what you think they might have been saying but purely a time to ensure that you heard everything they were trying to say.
I know by now you may be thinking - hey when’s it my turn to talk? But trust you me you want to go through all 4 of these steps first.
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and imagine how they must be feeling. This is the time to show them that you’re trying to understand from their perspective what they must be going through.
Complete the following sentence, “I imagine you must be feeling…” or “that must have made you feel…” If you’re wrong, they will tell you. But they will appreciate that you tried.
Fill in the blanks. “I can see how you would feel that way because…”. It doesn’t mean that you agree with what they’re saying necessarily but it’s you communicating that you understand why they’re upset.
Once they feel like you understand, then you can start over with step 1 but this time you talk.
Feeling resentment or contempt in a relationship happens when you get into these fights over and over and that resentment is just as predictive of heart disease as smoking or high cholesterol.
So challenge yourself to take these 4 steps the next time you see an argument coming. Your body and your relationship will thank you for it.
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