It’s important to do your best to keep hope alive, even in the midst of the most difficult relationship struggles. Take time to develop a positive mindset, such as by reflecting on the following affirmation: “This situation is difficult, but I trust that I/we will get through it and that there’s something positive waiting for me/us on the other side.”
Negativity–both in the relationship and within your own mind–can turn into a destructive cycle, leaving you and the situation feeling more hopeless and making it more difficult to see solutions.
A positive attitude doesn’t mean that you’ll gloss over problems or avoid facing difficult conversations. Instead, a positive attitude can help you accept that you are currently facing hard times, as well as trust that these difficult situations can be overcome.
Try to reframe your current challenges as an opportunity to learn and grow, which ultimately will help you to become a better, stronger person. These challenges also can be opportunities for growth and a deeper connection in your relationship, if and when you can overcome them in a healthy way.
When chaos erupts in our relationships, we often have little control over the things happening around us, such as the choices another person is making, how quickly things can change, and external circumstances that are outside of our control.
Although we may not have any ability to control these things, what we can manage is our responses to the challenges we face. A good question to ask yourself in the midst of a chaotic relationship situation is, “What can I do to take care of myself in this situation?”
For example, you may not be able to change how the other person is treating you, but you can make a choice about how you will respond. When you’re faced with a relationship situation that feels out of control, focusing on yourself and processing your own emotions and needs can help you identify potential steps you can take toward creating positive movement in the situation.
It’s so tempting to focus on what the other person needs to change! You could probably offer the other person a lengthy lesson on all of the problematic things they’ve said and done, along with your suggestions for what they need to start doing differently to make the relationship better. It can be helpful to spend some time thinking about this, especially if there’s a chance that the other person is being abusive or has violated your boundaries within the relationship.
If the other person has been abusive in any way, remember that the other person is fully responsible for those abusive actions or words, and you have a right to physical and emotional safety in your relationship.
Whether chaos in a relationship relates to abuse or non-abusive problems, it’s important to remember that you can’t make another person change. The other person is an individual with their own mind, and they make the choices about how they think, act, and respond to their emotions. In a healthy relationship, people consider other’s needs when making these choices.
Unfortunately, you can only go so far in influencing someone who is not able to do this or who chooses to act in unhealthy ways. It’s helpful in the midst of chaos to remind yourself that you and the other person are separate. You may not agree with the choices they’re making, but you can make the choice to acknowledge their right to make decisions for their life.
October 23: Free Webinar on Talking to Children About Race & Racism
The free webinar will feature an overview of the One Talk at a Time program for families and will feature strategies for Latinx American, Asian American, African American, and Black youth and their families to have conversations about race and ethnicity. We will also address strategies for White families to talk together about racism and ways to notice and push back on white skin privilege.
An important part of getting engaged and preparing for marriage is talking about how you will handle finances as a couple. Studies have shown that money is one of the most common things that couples argue about. We all have beliefs about money and strategies for managing our finances before entering into a relationship, and those beliefs and strategies don’t always align.
These differing views about money can lead to disagreements and arguments in our relationships, so it is important to make sure we work through our differences before getting engaged. By talking about how you and your partner will approach money and finances in your relationship before getting engaged, you will be more prepared to have tough conversations and handle challenges related to money during marriage.
Good communication is an essential part of any relationship. All relationships have ups and downs, but a healthy communication style can make it easier to deal with conflict.
Couples often cite a lack of communication as a major problem in the relationship, so it makes sense for engaged couples to spend time learning how to communicate with one another and becoming familiar with their own communication style.
Our HRI Toolkit for Couples is a great resource to intentionally learn and build healthy communication skills together. Download it for free today and begin practicing healthy communication skills with your partner!