This past year has been challenging to say the least. Whether you’ve been working from home, socially-distancing from others, or even trying to homeschool while having a full-time job (and maintain your sanity), everyone has had increased stress.

Often we feel this stress most keenly in our family relationships, especially with our partner. It’s no secret that most of us have felt irritated, annoyed, or simply unaligned with our significant other at some point over the past 12 months. We’ve felt a loss of connection, a gap that widens as the stress piles up. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to just hit the “reset button” and start fresh with your partner?

Below are a few ways to reset your relationship and give it new life:

Communicate Your Feelings and Hopes
Communication is key. But connection is the real goal. Communication without connection can actually be dangerous to your relationship. Communicating with empathy and compassion for your partner as well as yourself increases the odds of a positive outcome. Sit down with your partner and have an honest conversation. Be curious about their needs and let them share with you as you have with them. Connection is a two-way street. Take turns sharing your hopes for your future together and commit to helping each other realize those hopes.

Practice Patience
Working on your relationship takes time and patience. You can’t expect it to change overnight. Don’t look for immediate gratification; instead, notice and acknowledge even slight progress, and build on that. Work to let go of bitterness and frustration from previous interactions. Work daily on relationship maintenance: listen to each other, pause when you feel yourself getting frustrated, and focus on building one another up!

Bring Fun Into The Relationship Again
When relationships are strained and stressed, couples often forget what having fun together looks like. Having fun together can alleviate tension and help you stay connected. Try to make each other laugh at least once each day and spend time throughout the week doing things that you both enjoy together. Not only will you feel more connected, but you’ll feel a lot less stressed. 

If the weight and stress of the past year have taken a toll on your relationship, you aren’t alone. Getting back to a place of loving connection is possible. Set a goal of “resetting” your relationship and work on building a healthy, happy, lasting connection with your partner!