PA Requirements - Blog

Keeping Your Relationship Healthy & Happy
Posted by Emily Pazel

As the New Year begins, people start planning ahead for that one special day to celebrate the love and affection they have towards their significant other. Unfortunately, thanks to the pandemic, going out and having a normal day has become difficult for anyone whether it is people being afraid to leave their homes or due to several places closing down. Either way, it has resulted in couples spending a lot of time under the same roof. So maybe now is a good time to re-evaluate or work on your relationship.

Although it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of divorce rates, studies have shown that, actually, divorce rates have seen a recent decline in the past few years. A recent survey from the American Family Survey found that 34 percent of married men and women ages 18 to 55 have seen increased stress in their marriage due to the pandemic. However, the same survey corporation also found that most married people said their marriages have gotten stronger, and that people reporting that their marriage is in trouble, has decreased from 40 percent in 2019 to 29 percent in 2020.

So, even though people are generally experiencing more hardship with the pandemic, due to possibly losing a job, lengthy quarantines, or related financial troubles, couples are typically staying in it for the long haul. Perhaps you are currently in a relationship that could use a little more attention than before. So, let’s talk about a couple of ways that can help you maintain a healthy relationship.

Keeping your relationship healthy

Keeping your relationship healthy and happy doesn’t just happen with little to no effort – it takes work. It is a constant balance of emotions and learning from one another in order to make things work. According to the American Psychological Association, there are steps you can take towards keeping your relationship healthy and in good working order.

  • Talk openly: Although this should be a “no-brainer”, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and forget to be completely open and transparent to your partner. Don’t just talk about parenting and maintaining the household, it’s important to spend a few minutes each day discussing deeper and more personal subjects that help you to stay connected to each other.
  • Listen to one another: Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our own emotions that it can be hard to hear exactly what our significant other is trying to tell us. Be open minded and understanding of your partner's concerns, you don't have to fix everything sometimes they just want to be heard. And when you bring up difficult subjects, it pays to be kind. Researchers have found that the way you communicate with your partner is important and displaying negative communication patterns can have a negative effect on the relationship.
  • Don’t bottle things up: Although it can be tough to bring up hard topics or hurt feelings, it’s necessary to do. Bottling things up inside can just make things worse, and ultimately lead to damaging fighting. Learning to have constructive disagreements can be one of the ways to save your relationship. Instead of yelling, resorting to personal criticisms or withdrawing from the discussion, try listening to your partner’s point of view and understanding their feelings.
  • Keep things fresh: It can make a big difference when you try to keep things fun and interesting in your relationship. It’s easy to get complacent about having someone in your life, but this type of attitude can also lead to boredom and dissatisfaction. Try planning some stay at home date nights, and do something out of your routine, such as dancing, online classes together or packing an afternoon picnic.

While these are just a few, minimal ideas to get your relationship back on track, there are still plenty of other ways to do so. Taking a moment to step back and appreciate what you have is a great way to gain the perspective you might need to work things out. And relationships need work. They need to be nurtured and given the space and attention they deserve. But, how far are you willing to go to make it work? Which leads us to our next question.

What happens when things don’t get better?

Both marriage and divorce are common experiences to have during your lifetime. And while healthy marriages are good for couples’ mental and physical well being, it isn’t always the best option to stay together. They say that nearly half of marriages end in divorce, and the divorce rates are far higher for subsequent marriages. And while no one enters into a marriage expecting it to fail, sometimes life gets difficult and divorce is the only way to better the situation.

However, before filing for divorce, try to seek counseling even if it’s only for a few sessions. Every relationship has its ups and downs, but some factors can be a bigger deal breaker than others. For example, finances and parenting decisions often create recurring conflicts in a relationship. And if you see yourselves having this fight over and over, this could be a sign that this is a major problem. Seeing a therapist can often help couples improve communication and find healthy ways to move beyond the conflict.

Ultimately, you may have to ask yourselves: can this marriage be saved? Sometimes, ending a marriage is your only way out of a bad situation. And typically, getting out of that tough situation isn’t easy. When your marriage ends, you usually experience a flood of emotions, such as anger, grief, anxiety and fear. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a healthy divorce. As contradictory as that sounds, it is possible and better for your well-being when you have a healthy breakup.

A healthy breakup, you say? Yes – a healthy breakup. Here’s how you can end a relationship on a better note than you thought:

  • Cooperation, communication & mediation: A big helpful factor in healing a breakup is time. It’s normal to have intense emotions right after it happens, and with time, the intensity of hurt feelings will subside. And while you are in those early days, it’s important to be kind to yourself. Researchers have found that people who are kind and compassionate to themselves have an easier time managing the day-to-day difficulties of divorce.
    • Divorce mediation is a good alternative to courtroom proceedings because working things out by yourself can be frustrating and self-defeating at times. Sitting down and speaking with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse may be the last thing you want to do, but cooperation and communication can make the divorce healthier for everyone involved.
  • When kids are involved: Divorce can be just as traumatic for children as it is for adults. However, most research shows that children typically adjust well within two years following the divorce. During the divorce, parents can do a lot to ease the child’s transition and keep the conflict away from the children. Keep lines of communication open with your child and have honest conversations about changes the family is experiencing.

While keeping a healthy relationship is important, keeping a healthier and happier version of yourself is important as well. So, if that means filing for divorce is your path to a happier life, then do what is necessary. Change brought on by separation and divorce can be overwhelming, so it’s vital to remember to take care of yourself, as well as any children involved.

But most importantly, try to stay positive. Sometimes things don’t always go as we planned, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a negative experience. Try to find the positive side of things, learn from you and your ex-partner’s mistakes and then carry those lessons onto the next time you decide to try to have a relationship. So, whether you’re spending this Valentine’s Day with a long-time partner or on a first date, just remember that healthy and happy relationships lead to an overall happier and healthier life.