The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people all over the world to spend more time together than ever before. Married couples who were used to spending their working days apart at separate offices are now both working from home in close quarters, hardly ever leaving each others’ side. Parents are spending more time with their children of all ages, trying to create an abundance of activities to keep bored children occupied. Roommates who used to gather for dinner in the evening are now learning more about all the daily habits that remained hidden for years but have now become plain because of the virus.
The bottom line?
Relationships are in focus more than ever before.
For some? This has been a good thing and drawn people closer together. For many, however, it has driven them apart as they focus only on each other’s flaws and as they desperately crave alone time and time apart. This has taken some people by surprise and they are urgently in repair mode, hoping their relationships will survive this unusual and unprecedented season we’ve all gone through and are trying to survive.
For those needing a little help in recognizing their relationship struggles, we suggest the following things that are possibly destroying your relationships alongside a few suggestions on how you can bring things back from the brink.
Top five ways you destroy your relationships
1. Stop Talking, bottle up feelings. If you want to push your spouse, partner, or friend away, definitely stop talking. Don’t tell them how you’re feeling and if you’re upset, keep those feelings bottled up tight. Never share your joys or your sorrows. Keep your opinions to yourself.
But if you want to build your relationships? Take the initiative to share what you’re feeling. Encourage one another with positive talk. Use words of appreciation to tell your spouse or your friend how much they mean to you. If you’re hurting, find a sensitive way to express your hurt feelings without blaming the other person. Ask for forgiveness if you feel you’ve done something wrong. Never let something go unsaid that needs to be said.
2. Stop Listening, assume you know what someone is feeling. If you want to frustrate someone, make sure that you don’t listen to them when they talk to you. When they’re talking, formulate responses in your head rather than listening to the words they’re saying. Assume what they’re feeling rather than actually listening to what they’re saying about their feelings.
But if you want to grow together? Genuinely listen. In fact, dedicate some time every day just to listen to your spouse or your friend talk. Have no other agenda than asking them questions and authentically listening to them speak. Ask follow up questions. Be sure you understand and ask clarifying questions if you’re not absolutely sure. Let them ask you questions to make sure you understand. Allow them to tell you things you don’t want to hear and don’t get angry. Listen more than you speak.
3. Blame, don’t take responsibility. Ruining your relationship is easy if you never take responsibility for the challenges you face together in your relationship. Blaming the other person is an excellent idea if you want to argue and misunderstand one another! Refusing to take ownership of difficult situations is the perfect solution if you want to destroy everything you’ve worked to build.
If you want to make your relationship stronger? Take ownership for the good and the bad. Avoid blame. Remember that it’s not about assigning fault to someone. It’s about working through problems and challenges together to find solutions that benefit the relationship and take it forward to positive, mature heights.
4. Don’t spend time together. Relationships need time together. If you don’t want a relationship? Allow busyness to rule. Don’t be intentional. Forsake any meaningful time together and prioritize work and other friends over the most loved ones in your life. Use any margin in your life to explore things that don’t include your loved ones. Don’t call, don’t text, don’t explain your absences. It’s easy.
Want to make your relationship last? Spend time together! Make each moment meaningful, even if it’s just a simple evening eating dinner or watching TV together. Spending time together creates memories that nothing else can replace. COVID-19 has taught us that relationships matter. It has taught us that we need margin in our lives and that margin should be filled with those we love the most.
5. Stop serving one another. We all have needs. If you want to ruin your relationship real quick, don’t meet the needs of your partner or friend. Let them fend for themselves. Stop going out of your way to help them in their time of need. Further, definitely stop submitting to one another out of a spirit of love. Dominate them, act superior, and don’t let them get their way.
Relationships need service and submission. You can build your relationship stronger every day by showing your love to your spouse or your friend by serving them and submitting to them in new and unexpected ways. Bring them breakfast in bed. Clean the bathroom. Fold the laundry. Fix their flat tire. Whatever it takes, help them.
Relationships are the fabric of our lives. We need them for our physical and emotional survival. Let’s all do whatever we can not to destroy them, but to build them stronger every day.