Did you know that afternoon rain showers are very common in Florida during the summer months? While watching it rain recently, I was reminded about how relationships also experience rain storms from time to time. In nature, the rain showers often seem unexpected and are unwanted by many since they “ruin” our plans for outdoor fun. The dreary weather also seems to dampen your spirits. In relationships, rain storms can similarly come on suddenly, and can ruin your day with your loved one. You may even worry your relationship is at-risk long-term. However, you can learn to ride out these rain showers in your relationship, just like you can ride out a rain storm in nature. It takes some planning and a change in perspective.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Keep checking the weather. In your relationship, this can mean to accept that there will be rain showers sometimes. These will be problems you face in life or changes in your partner that threaten the stability of your relationship. Keep checking in with each other regularly. Notice each other’s emotions, behaviors and routines, and then discuss sudden or lingering changes that have been noticed with each other. This helps you to continue to know each other well and have intimate discussions about things that are beginning to frustrate, sadden or aggravate you or your partner. This also improves support for each other and helps you plan changes that will resolve any concerns.
2. Remember to have an umbrella or rain poncho with you. In your relationship, this can mean to have several ideas ready to put into action to help you survive a rain storm with your partner. These can include certain specific words or actions you can take to lift your partner’s spirits, give them space, or to quickly re-establish a stronger feeling of connection with them (i.e., putting on a favorite song from when you were falling in love). In addition, be equipped with ideas that will inspire you to be more patient, to feel more protected until the storm passes, and to have a greater disposition for forgiveness during the trying times.
3. Make changes or back-up plans for indoor fun when it rains. In your relationship, this can mean to use a problem-solving mindset to discuss the problem with your partner. This also involves coming up with possible alternatives and solutions to address the issues you each consider the current rain storm. With compassion, discuss your wishes and wants, the things you miss, and ways you each are willing to contribute and make changes to have a renewed relationship with better times again.
4. Put your patience on. Remind yourself that this is only a temporary rain storm and good weather will reappear. In your relationship, this can mean to continue to change your thinking to more positive things that will help you to calm yourself, to have hope, and to feel stronger. Replace the negative thoughts with more hopeful ones like these: ‘Tomorrow is another day,’ ‘I’m thirsty anyway, so bring on the rain,’ ‘look for the rainbow after the rain’, ‘love is patient, love is kind.’ And remember these words from a famous Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, “Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.”
5. Remember that a lot of good also comes from rain storms. In your relationship, this can mean to change your perspective from an emphasis on the negatives to a focus on the positives that can occur when you survive your relationship storm. In nature, the rain not only helps to keep Florida lush with beautiful greenery and flowers, but also reduces watering restrictions and provides essential water for the survival of animals and humans. In relationships, a rain storm can result in benefits as well. Refocus your thoughts to the positives by reminding yourself that you and your partner can become more experienced by going through difficult situations together, and can become more connected, patient, and loving with each other when you successfully overcome a storm in your relationship with grace and respect. Remember these lyrics from the song ‘The Rose’- “Just remember, in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows, lies the seed that with the sun’s love, in the spring, becomes the rose.”
So don’t let it rain on your relationship parade! Stay hopeful and refocus. Take measures to survive any rain storms that arise so you can look forward to better days ahead in a vibrant and more resilient relationship.
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