Stress Management for New Relationships
I will share some of these practical stress management tips and insights on how to decrease stress and increase the quality of life in your primary relationship.
“When the Honeymoon is Over!”
For newly married couples or partnerships, once the honeymoon is over, the real work begins and learning how to have your needs met through and with each other! This is no simple task as evidenced by the high divorce rates in the 21st century. Beyond the idea that just by coming together, you will automatically become a whole, perfectly harmonized and aligned unit, the fact is that living in a relationship will definitely create conflict. This is where Stress Management tools and insights, particularly in the context of new partnerships, can help.
In this short article, I will share some of these practical stress management tips and insights on how to decrease stress and increase the quality of life in your primary relationship.
Compromising versus Consensus
I have observed that whereas men in general used to be dominant in relationships and women 'compromised’, lately, the trend has reversed. Men of the younger generations, in their 20’s and 30’s, appear to have become the compromisers, making sure that the wife is listened to, happy and that they don’t rock the boat! In either situation, the point here is that rather then compromise with a partner, which can involve making concessions and reducing the quality, value and degree of something which is a core need of yours, you can instead through awareness, patience and understanding, work to reach a 'consensus’.
The difference being that consensus requires us to reach a mutual agreement on something, much like a compromise, but without feelings of loss or resentment. It requires patience because we have to listen to each other without judgment; hear what they are saying and give it due consideration, and then respond (versus react), appropriately. This creates understanding at which point, we can agree to move from our position, let go of what we thought was critical to hold onto, or find another way to which both partners can agree! It essentially takes you beyond 'right versus wrong’, and being 'my versus your way’, to 'our way’!
Communicating vs. Assuming
We have all heard of the dangers of assuming something. We are masterful at jumping to conclusions and acting in situations without checking out all the facts. After 20 years of counseling couples, I have observed that one key source of stress and conflict is that 'she assumes that he should know what her needs are at any given time’, and 'he assumes that she understands him fully and that he does not have to communicate what he is thinking or feeling.” In either case, such assumptions lead to frustration, anger, resentment and other similar feelings.
How simple would it be to simply ask your partner what you need from them? There are numerous mechanisms and processes for clear, honest and open communication. When we are deciding for someone else, as for example “He’s so busy so I won’t ask’, or 'She will definitely say no because...’ we disrespect them and their right to decide for themselves. They may agree or even say no to your request, however, it must be 'their’ decision, and to behave otherwise, is manipulative.
Maintaining your Individuality
All too often, people who become a 'couple’ end up losing their identity. They give up many of their existing activities, as well as friends, and somehow buy into the 'we have to always do things and be together’ phenomenon. How often have you had a good friend, who upon getting married is suddenly not available to you, and for no 'apparent’ reason? This can happen with both partners, or it may happen with one partner if the other is dominant. In that case, the dominant one carries on doing what they always did, while you no longer do so. In a sense, by doing this, you betray yourself and by extension, all those who were your friends and part of your life. Ultimately, this can come back to haunt you, either out of a long-term building resentment of the relationship and what you felt you had to give up, or if the relationship is not enduring, then the void which is left in your world!
Essentially, healthy relationships are ones in which you have 2 'individuals’, which are whole within themselves, and a third entity called the 'relationship’, which they grow and nurture as their creation. They do not mistake it for 'being’ who they are, and in that way, they invest in it while still not losing sovereignty over their individuality and its healthy expression!
Stress Management is a must for all forms of modern day relationships. And when a relationship is primary and intimate, it is essential that both partners learn how to apply specific stress management strategies in order to ensure a happy, harmonious and truly loving experience for not only both partners but also, for their personal communities of family and friends.