Holding your relationship together in times of trouble

Do you recall when you first got together with your partner/spouse? Did it feel magical? Could they do no wrong, and then you had your first row, and the bubble burst for you both? This week, we are taking a look at the anxiety and stress in relationships when reality hits. We will take a look at some tips on how to manage relationship stress effectively. While I do not engage in marriage guidance counselling, I welcome enquiries from individuals struggling to save their relationships.

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Relationship stress in family issues

Negative situations and persistent relationship stress can harm the relationship and lead to hurt feelings caused by anxiety and stress, loss of respect, and intimacy issues. To avoid your partner feeling low self-esteem during an argument, use "I" language instead of "you." Additionally, asking for help and actively listening to your partner's concerns can help manage anxiety and stress in your relationship.

Misunderstandings can be an ordinary and even necessary part of developing a relationship. However, external stressors can easily exacerbate these misunderstandings and potentially damage the relationship. Recognising the impact of external stress on your relationship and learning how to navigate it healthily is essential. Communicating openly and compassionately allows you to work through these challenges and maintain a strong connection with your partner. Remember, it is not always easy, but it is worth it to prioritise your relationship and support each other through difficult times.

Relationship stress is a complex issue that can arise due to various factors. While avoiding stress altogether may not be possible, we can take reasonable steps to reduce its impact on our relationships. Stress, such as burnout, fatigue, executive stress, financial difficulties, health issues, or family problems, can create tension and strain in a relationship. They can lead to conflicts, communication barriers, emotional strain, less quality time, and even a change in priorities.

To manage external stress and anxiety effectively requires communicating openly and honestly with your partner. Share your concerns, fears, and feelings with them. Listen to their perspectives, be willing to compromise, and find solutions that work for both of you. Make time for each other regularly to connect emotionally and strengthen your bond, even if it is just a few minutes a day. Yes, talk to each other from a place of honest communication, engaging the "I," not the "you" accusation.

Anxiety & stress will be costly if not guarded against

It is understandable how stress and anxiety can take a toll on your relationship. You may feel withdrawn, your partner may feel pushed away, or you may become snappy, and your partner may feel hurt or defensive. It is important to note that your partner may want to help but feel that their efforts are being rebuffed, which can be frustrating and hurtful. This can result in a cycle where both partners act negatively towards each other, causing further stress and confusion.

Communicating with your partner about how stress affects your behaviour is crucial. They may not realise the root cause of your actions and feel like they are the problem, which can be very upsetting, causing low self-esteem and trust issues. With open and honest communication, you can work together to find ways to manage stress and anxiety and still find a way to strengthen your relationship.

Remember that stress can widen the gap between you and your partner, but it must not be a permanent barrier. With patience, willingness to understand, and support, you can navigate this challenging time and become more assertive on the other side.

Support each other

I understand how difficult it can be to handle conflicts and arguments. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to stopping an argument, several practical strategies can help de-escalate the situation and foster a healthier relationship moving forward.

Some helpful tips for halting an argument include practising emotional regulation by using deep breathing or mindfulness techniques, using active listening skills to reduce conflict and show understanding, and finding common ground to create a sense of unity and foster cooperation. Additionally, taking a break and temporarily disengaging can allow emotions to cool off, and using humour when appropriate can lighten the mood and diffuse tension.

It is essential to remember that disagreements do not always have to be negative. Some of them can be productive and provide a better understanding of each other's perspectives. However, it is crucial to approach these discussions constructively by prioritising mutual understanding and collaborative problem-solving. This fosters respect and empathy and can lead to a positive outcome for both parties.


In any committed relationship, it is natural to face challenges and difficulties. But it is important to remember that you are not alone in this journey. By working together, planning for the future, and respecting each other's boundaries, you can overcome any obstacles that come your way. Of course, this requires time, effort, and patience, but the rewards are worth it.

You can cultivate a deeper connection with your partner by being fully present in the moment, whether during a first date or a long-term partnership. It is important to show genuine interest, listen actively, and communicate openly rather than getting distracted or letting doubts cloud your mind. Remember, building a solid and fulfilling relationship takes time and effort, but it is a journey that you can bring together with love and compassion.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London E1 & E14
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Written by David Pender, MBACP, Integrative Psychotherapy | Specialising in Anxiety
London E1 & E14

David Pender M.B.A.C.P Corporate & Personal Mental Health Anxiety Specialist
counselling and psychotherapy face Your fear & s et Yourself free, Perhaps self-doubt is making it difficult for you to form strong connections with your team and others. Would you like to improve your internal dialogue and increase your sense of well-being?

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