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Tips for Keeping Relationships Strong Through Life Transitions

Change is rarely easy. Whether you’re starting a new career, moving across state lines, having a baby, or navigating grief after losing a loved one, the transition period likely feels unfamiliar and scary. The one part of our lives we want to remain constant in is our partnerships. That said, sometimes changes can put a strain on our relationships. Here are a few ways to ensure your relationship stays strong and consistent through life’s transitions.

Commit to Communication

Relationships always struggle when communication breaks down. It can be easy to neglect communication with your partner when you’ve got your mind on other, seemingly more pressing issues. Try to find ways to check in with one another. Maybe this means chatting over coffee in the morning or debriefing on the day before bed. Don’t treat these conversations like life-or-death situations. Instead, look at them as creating simple touchstones between you and your partner. When you make a routine of communicating with one another, it becomes easier to remember.

Stay Flexible

As you go through transitions, you’ll probably come up against unexpected twists and turns, sometimes difficult ones. Not everything will turn out exactly as you planned. And that’s okay! What matters most is keeping an open mindset. Talk with your partner about how you plan to adapt to unexpected and unforeseen challenges. When you’re on the same page about how to be flexible, making these changes won’t feel so difficult.

photo of a couple sitting together on a bedKeep a Routine

What can make changes so scary is feeling a loss of control. You and your partner should take a look at your situation and decide what you can control. Maybe this means planning out your meals for the week or creating a bedtime ritual that makes room for self-care. Find ways to exert control over your lives together, however small they may be.

Make Time for Each Other

Don’t let the relationship fall by the wayside. Make concrete plans to stay in one another’s orbit. This might mean dedicating one night a week to watching movies on the couch together, grocery shopping together, or even getting out of town for the weekend. Find something that fits within your means and changing situation and stick to it the best you can. Even if you don’t have space in your schedule for full-on date nights, find other ways to show appreciation for one another. Do that chore they hate doing or pick up their favorite dessert after work.

Set Realistic Expectations

Sometimes, during a big life change, one person is more involved (and stressed) than the other. Has your partner started that new job? Are you coping with the loss of a close loved one? Don’t expect too much of the other person when their emotional bandwidth is less during this time. Try to be empathetic — you want to give each other the grace you deserve. Allow for days when they need time to themselves or can’t fully be present when things are tough. You’ll weather the storm together as long as you communicate about how and why these things happen.

Seek Counseling

Sometimes, navigating life transitions can feel too overwhelming to handle alone. If this is your situation, you may find it best to seek professional help. A therapist can provide valuable support and guidance as you and your partner deal with this transition. You can choose to see a counselor either together or separately. In therapy sessions, you’ll learn coping strategies for stress and difficult emotions, as well as how best to support one another right now.

To learn more about how couples therapy can help keep your relationship strong, please reach out to us.