Relationship Minute: Rituals for a Bad Day

Let’s say your partner is having a bad day. Perhaps they had an argument with a friend or they didn’t get the second job interview; any type of disappointing event from a stressor outside of your relationship. It leaves your partner feeling dejected. How do you respond?

In “The Relationship Cure,” Dr. John Gottman notes, “In moments of deep discouragement, it can be extremely comforting to have a reliable outward sign that your spouse stands by you.” This is an opportunity to establish a ritual of connection.

Rituals for a bad day can look like stopping by the bakery to get those cupcakes they like or offering to rub their shoulders while you listen to them share their feelings. It’s also helpful to build Love Maps together so you know exactly what your partner needs when they feel low.

This isn’t the time for attempting to solve your partner’s problems for them. Understanding precedes advice, so your ritual of connection is first and foremost a source of comfort where your partner feels seen, known, and loved.

Make supporting each other through tough times a habit in your relationship. You’ll find that your love will grow when your partner knows they have you to lean on.

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The Relationship Minute is from The Gottman Institute. You can sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.