Alicia and I have noticed that successful couples behave quite differently when the pressure is on! And in many ways, today’s health (and for some people financial) crisis is a real pressure cooker. Some couples even have a kid or two or three at home and out of school during all this!
Situations like this can either bring out the best in us or the worst in us. What doesn’t work is to get into a vicious circle of reactivity with one’s partner which only adds stress to an already difficult situation. The bottom line of the way out of that is to really take the time to feel one’s feelings and reactions before they are acted out. This is easier said than done
What you can do is communicate clearly and state what you’re feeling and what you need. Clear requests are way better than criticizing the other person. They won’t always be obliged or accommodated, but sometimes they will, and regardless of whether they are or not they create a powerful relationship to one’s emotions.
Anything grounding is helpful. In other words, things that help you feel your body and slow down. It can seem like we need to be anxious and operating quickly, but actually this tends to make the situation worse. Taking a breath, taking a walk, doing some exercise, while we may not feel we have time for this (yet more often than not we actually do) makes a huge difference and puts the situation in a completely different perspective.
Acknowledging our internal state helps us not to turn these feelings on one another and helps us regulate. Understanding that we all have different coping mechanisms and different means of processing our experience helps us have compassion for the other, as well as ourselves. Use these differences to balance your perspectives instead of exacerbating tensions!
And don’t just weather the storm! We’ve heard successful couples talking about how this is an opportunity to be closer and more intimate, even if it means that difficult issues will surface. Set aside time to communicate and inquire into your relationship with your partner. This has been particularly supportive for Alicia and me. Take some time away from the news or Netflix or sometimes even work to do nourishing things with each other and learn new skills!
Most importantly create room for pleasure and enjoyment during a crisis! This may seem totally counterintuitive to our egos BUT COUPLES WHO ARE SUCCESSFUL DO NOT REDUCE PLEASURE TIME WITH EACH OTHER IN CHALLENGING TIMES; THEY INCREASE IT! Many of you know that we teach a set of a dozen touching practices and they make a world of difference during a crisis. Successful couples prioritize them. They can be as simple as sitting up by your partner side and putting a hand on their heart and a hand on their abdomen, with some New Age music and incense lit. These practices can be taken all the way to our stroking an extended orgasm practice. You do them at whatever level you want to on a given day. Alicia and I do them every day. They prioritize pleasure and intimacy and connection. They feel good and nourish the soul. They put everything in a completely different perspective!
Basically, successful couples build an even better foundation for the relationship the same way a successful enterprise or organization takes advantage of the opportunity. Every moment of life is an opportunity and difficult moments are particularly good opportunities. Many of you have heard me share about my past and how the dozen or so crises that I went through were all blessings in disguise because I leaned into them. Even during this difficult situation Erwan Davon Teachings as a school is thriving because we’ve used this opportunity to support people more than ever. It’s made Alicia and I feel so nourished and feel that much more love for our students. Reading this you are supporting us, and allowing us to make a difference, and we appreciate that!
What’s the opportunity in this for your relationship?