How to Build Authentic Relationships

When feeling overwhelmed by our family’s issues, our adult relationship with our parenting partner might have suffered. When kids are going through struggles, they might exhibit challenging behaviors like addiction, cutting, self-injuries, promiscuity, trouble at school, and others. We might feel as though we spend all of our time managing one crisis after another. By the time we have a minute to ourselves, we might catch up on rest or other tasks. 

However, we might feel disconnected from our adult relationship with our spouse or partner if we are not mindful of continuing to nurture this vital relationship. During episodes of “Beyond Risk and Back,” Fire Mountain’s Aaron Huey reminds parents that when they take care of themselves first and their adult relationships second, only then can parents be at their best to help their kids.

Making Time for Our Partners

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.”

-Charles Buxton, English writer, politician, and philanthropist

Often, we let many things go to the wayside due to a lack of time. We might put things on the back burner, waiting until things settle down to tend to these things. However, when we wait for the right time, many opportunities might pass us by. 

Looking for the Slightest Opportunity

When working our relationship with our partner or spouse, we must make the time. While things seem so chaotic and overwhelming in our homes, we might need to look for any opportunity to re-connect with our adult relationships. We might get caught up in having expectations of a date night that appears to be on hold indefinitely or are interrupted by crisis after crisis that we just give up.

During times of high-stress and situations involving running back and forth, putting out fires, we might only have a few minutes each day to spare. Quality time is not about quantity. Spending quality time with our partner or spouse is about our presence and being present for each other. Maybe we cannot leave the house for a date night or struggle to relax when out, anticipating a panicked call from a sitter or emergency services. Perhaps the only time we have together is a few minutes before falling asleep together, exhausted from the days.

We can capitalize on these little moments with our partner or spouse. When laying with them at the end of a long day or while sitting in a waiting room during an ER visit for our kid, we can use these moments to re-connect. Be present and focus solely on one another.

Being Present and In the Moment

Focusing on our adult relationships means that we might need to set some ground rules during these brief moments of levity. Try some of the following to engage your partner or spouse as you re-connect with them. Practice these things whenever you are able—the little moments add up!

  • Make Eye Contact
    • Eye contact signifies that a person is paying attention to another.
    • Making eye contact is a crucial aspect of active listening.
  • Agree to Not Talk About the Kids
    • There are times when we will need to come together to focus on our kids, planning treatment, and other issues when raising children.
    • Create a firewall for designated times to talk about the kids and time to talk about each other.
  • Physical Touch
    • Physical touch can also show that we are present and engaged.
    • Touch can be healing and can help both partners reduce stress.
    • Hold hands, “spoon,” lean on one another—whatever works!
  • Compliment One Another
    • Express gratitude and appreciation for one another.
    • Acknowledge that things are challenging right now and that we admire the other person’s strength.
  • Take Ownership of Our Feelings
    • We can express our fears, doubts, concerns, shame, or other challenging emotions without putting those feelings onto our partner to fix.
    • By being open and honest, we can connect with our adult relationships.
  • Inspire the Other Person to Care for Themselves
    • We cannot solve anyone else’s issues nor take responsibility for their emotions.
    • We can, however, inspire and support our partners or spouses to engage in self-care activities.

Whether out on a date-night or sitting in the waiting room at a psychiatrist’s appointment, we can utilize some of these skills to get back in touch with our adult relationships. Just the simple act of hold one another’s hands while waiting in the ER or checking-in to see if our partner needs a break can go a long way in maintaining our meaningful adult relationships! Remember always, care for yourself first, and you will be healthy and present for your adult relationship, and then you will be at your best for your child!

When feeling overwhelmed by crises within our homes due to challenging behaviors or issues with our kids, we might neglect our adult relationship with our partner or spouse. We can be mindful of making time for this critical relationship in our lives. We might need to seize opportunities for little moments with our partner or spouse. Sometimes, we only get a few minutes together while falling asleep or in waiting rooms while our kids are in appointments. These moments can add up and build our relationship. Focus on the quality of our time together rather than the quantity of time. Be present, make eye contact, and show appreciation. If your kid is continuing to struggle, or you need additional support to manage your home, Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center is here. Call us today at (303) 443-3343. We offer parenting workshops and offer support for families. We’re here to help your family’s fire burn brightest. 

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