You Can Manage Stress by Strengthening Your Primary Relationship

Whether it is a spouse or other partner, you should place a high value on that relationship and always take steps to keep improving it.  It’s encouraging to know that about 62% of first responders tell us that they “Often” or “Always” follow this advice.

Many couples find that the face-to-face contact of their early dating days is gradually replaced by hurried texts, emails, and instant messages.  While digital communication is great for some purposes, it doesn’t positively impact your brain and nervous system in the same way as face-to-face communication.  The emotional cues you both need to feel loved can only be conveyed in person, so no matter how busy life gets, it’s important to carve out time to spend together.

It's not always easy to talk about what you need.  Even when you’ve got a good idea of what’s important to you in a relationship, talking about it can make you feel vulnerable, embarrassed, or even ashamed. But look at it from your partner’s point of view.  Providing comfort and understanding to someone you love is a pleasure, not a burden. So tell your partner what you need.  And remember, everyone changes over time.  What you needed from your partner five years ago may be different from what you need now. 

Don’t let disagreements fester and grow into bigger problems.  Some couples argue quietly, while others raise their voices and passionately disagree.  The key is not to be fearful of disagreement but see it as an opportunity to grow the relationship.  Both people in a relationship need to express the things that bother them without fear of humiliation or retaliation from their partner.  Being able to do so can help improve you as individuals and as a couple.

Here are some simple ways to connect as a couple face-to-face:

  • First, commit to spending some quality time together every day on a regular basis.  Even during the busiest times, just a few minutes of really sharing and connecting can help keep bonds strong. 
  • Next, find something that you enjoy doing together, whether it is a shared hobby, dance class, daily walk, or sitting over a cup of coffee in the morning. 
  • Finally, try something new together. Doing new things together can be a fun way to connect and keep things interesting. It can be as simple as trying a new restaurant or going on a day trip to a place you’ve never been before.

You will always enjoy holding the hand of someone who shares your vision for the future.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. How can I work today toward strengthening my partnership?
  2. How can I show appreciation for the unique qualities my partner brings to our relationship?
  3. What is one step I can take to show a genuine expression of my love for my partner?

If you’d like to speak to one of our peer support specialists about how to manage the stress of work or life in general, feel free to reach out to us at and someone will be happy to chat with you.  If you are in crisis, please text the keyword BADGE to the National Crisis Text Line where you can be connected to a trained crisis counselor, 24/7/365.  Always free.  Always confidential.

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