Don’t let stress sabotage your relationship, says Thomas Bradbury, co-founder of the UCLA Relationship Institute. His advice:
1. Get stress on your radar. Learn to recognize when your partner is feeling stressed, and cut him or her some slack.
2. Step up. When your partner is tired and stressed, that’s your signal to step up and do more around the house, Bradbury says. “But if you crow about helping, you are making your partner feel worse, not better.”
3. Build a firewall. Partners in healthy relationships “know how to prevent ordinary frustrations from spilling over to erode the good feelings that they have for one another,” Bradbury says. “So build a firewall around all of the great things you and your partner share, and protect them against minor annoyances.”
4. Strengthen the foundation. Good relationships are fundamentally about two people taking care of each other. Figure out what your partner needs to feel secure and happy and do your best to give it to them, and on their terms, not yours.
5. Get active. If stress is eating away at your relationship, get on your feet and invite your partner to a walk, a class or a movie.