HOW TO DE-STRESS YOUR RELATIONSHIP

All relationships are stressful at times. Healthy relationships have
fewer stressed times from which the couple recovers quickly. In other
words, they fight or argue quickly and resolve it so that it does not
interfere with their relationship later.

HOW TO DE-STRESS YOUR RELATIONSHIP
1.
LIST YOUR STRESSORS: make a list of everything that is bothering you both lage and small.
Then compare lists with your partner. This will help start the process of re-establishing good
communication. Then divide the list into two columns titled “what you can change” and “what you
can't change”.
2.
ASSESS THE BOTTOM LINE: determine what you really need and want and what you are
willing to do, give up, risk losing in order to achieve it.
3.
PRIORITIZE THE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE: list all your friends, co-workers, family members,
etc. Then divide the names into three groups - those who are “very important”, “fairly important”
and “peripheral”. Use this as a guideline when making decisions on how to spend your time.
4.
LIST ALL YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES: include tasks at home, at work and extracurricular
activities. Ask what responsibilities can you drop, share or delegate/hire out?
5.
BE ABSOLUTELY AVAILABLE TO EACH OTHER IN CRISES: come to an agreement with
your partner what constitutes a “real emergency” first. Then advise your co-workers that if your
partner calls and says “It’s an emergency” they are to interrupt you no matter what you’re doing.
Mutual support is key to healthy relationships.
6.
RESERVE SOME EXCLUSIVE TIME FOR EACH OTHER: enjoy each other’s company -
rediscover the person you fell in love with. Get together when you have energy to spare.
7.
MAKE MORE PLANS: take more control of your lives. Take mental health days off together, go
on weekend getaways, and schedule in sex. If time is a factor, then you need to schedule in sexual
encounters - do mood enhancing things like sitting in front of a fire, bathing together or giving each
other a massage.
8.
DISTRIBUTE HOUSEHOLD CHORES FAIRLY: list everything you need to accomplish then
negotiate for fair division. If your budget allows, contract out certain activities. Do more of what you
enjoy and less of what causes you distress.
9.
LEARN ABOUT YOUR PARTNER’S JOB: explain your responsibilities to your partner - the
demands on your time, what you like about your job and what annoys you. This helps to create
understanding and empathy.
Permission to photocopy with credit given to The Family Centre
Room 20, 9912 – 106 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T5K 1C5
Phone (780) 423-2831 Fax (780) 426-4918
Email
tfc@the-family-centre.com Website www.the-family-centre.com
REL006.doc
10.
USE TECHNOLOGY: tape TV programs to enjoy later, don’t answer the phone - put the
answering machine on, get a cellular phone or pager so that you can always have access to each
other. Try using email to communicate.
11.
GIVE THE GIFT OF PLEASANT SURPRISES: do the unexpected when you can. Do small
things to show you care - do something your partner says you “never do”.
12.
DON’T USE ALCOHOL TO COPE: alcohol creates more stress than it relieves - it can negatively
affect your relationship with family, friends, co-workers, and your partner.
13.
MAKE A CONTRACT: discuss a plan to implement some changes with your partner and then
make a written contract on how the changes will be implemented - start small - one or two changes -
set a time line and concrete plan.
14.
COMMIT TO YOUR RELATIONSHIP: when couples are under stress, they feel like they have
no extra energy. Making the commitment to invest the time, energy and effort to implement one
small change will have huge payoffs.

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