How Can We Strengthen Our Relationship?

In this article, I aim to provide practical tips for enhancing your relationship. Maintaining a balanced connection can be a significant challenge for many individuals dealing with endometriosis. While some couples appear to navigate their daily lives together effortlessly, the reality for those with endometriosis often differs. That is why it becomes crucial to proactively strengthen your relationship and discover healthy ways to cope with the condition. You, as a couple, can implement several approaches collaboratively. It is always valuable and essential to consciously nurture your relationship and periodically inquire about each other’s current needs, irrespective of the challenges posed by endometriosis.

Effective Communication Is a Vital Component

In any relationship, communication is pivotal in fostering trust and mutual growth. However, it is not merely about repetitively discussing everyday matters. What truly matters is engaging in regular conversations as a couple where you actively listen to each other with attentiveness, respect, and appreciation. This includes using a first-person perspective when sharing thoughts or stories. For instance, consider phrasing your intentions like, “I would love to discuss our plans with you. I am eager to hear your thoughts and would like to share my ideas and desires as well.” This approach is inviting and non-accusatory. On the contrary, phrases like “You never ask me about our future” can be judgmental and may not encourage constructive dialogue on equal terms.

To enhance your connection as a couple through meaningful conversations, consider asking each other entirely new questions unrelated to your daily lives or exclusively focused on endometriosis. You can compile these questions on small cards and keep them handy for walks, mealtime discussions, or car rides together. Alternatively, ready-made card sets with thought-provoking questions are available for immediate use.

Here are a few sample questions for you as a couple:

  • How do you envision our future together in 10 years?
  • What inspires or excites you in life?
  • What are my greatest strengths, and how can I leverage them more effectively?
  • In what situations do you feel particularly loved by me?
  • When does intimacy start for you? (Is it a mental connection, a fantasy, through physical touch, or something else?)

The Endo Check-In

It is standard for endometriosis to become a dominant topic in a relationship, which can be overwhelming or even irritating for both individuals involved. This is perfectly normal and human. In such situations, it is essential to consider how consciously you communicate about endometriosis. By this, I mean, do you find yourselves discussing the condition and its symptoms constantly throughout the day, or do you set aside dedicated time to talk about it?

Sometimes, it can be relieving to allocate specific time for discussing endometriosis instead of addressing it sporadically in daily life. One idea is to establish an “endo check-in.” For instance, you could arrange to meet once a week for 20–30 minutes. It is crucial to set a definite time frame for this conversation.

During your endo check-in, you can make a cup of coffee, share a piece of your favorite cake, or take a pleasant stroll. Transform this time into a conscious ritual. Each of you will have an opportunity to talk openly about your experiences and how the other person is coping. This applies to caregivers and partners alike. The key is to listen attentively to each other and maintain a first-person perspective.

The endo check-in can be a beautiful ritual that strengthens your relationship. It doesn’t always have to revolve around discussing the challenges of the disease. Instead, it might involve sharing new research findings, exciting TV reports, or realizing that endometriosis had a minimal impact on your life during a particular week.

What Strengthens Your Relationship?

Maintaining a relationship while dealing with endometriosis can be highly challenging. Therefore, it is essential to continuously reinforce your bond and remember what makes your relationship strong. Here is a lovely exercise for you, and all you will need are pens and several A4 sheets of white paper.

Take some time to reflect on what strengthens your relationship and binds you together as a couple. This might include emotions you share (love, gratitude, trust, etc.), personal qualities you bring to the relationship (courage, humor, curiosity, etc.), or even joint projects and hobbies that connect you. Write down a keyword or a short sentence in large letters on each sheet of paper. Once you have recorded all these aspects, arrange the pieces of paper in a circle on the floor.

Now, stand together as a couple within this circle and observe all the elements that surround you. Take turns reading the notes aloud or discuss what each term means to you.

With this exercise, you can consciously recognize the strength and connection within your relationship. It becomes even more tangible when you can physically see the words written on the slips of paper, providing a beautiful way to celebrate and reinforce your connection.

Creating Relationship Oases: Taking Breaks When Endometriosis Becomes Overwhelming

There are times when endometriosis becomes an all-consuming topic for both partners in a relationship. It is essential to understand that this is entirely normal when dealing with such a challenging condition. Many other couples facing similar challenges often find themselves in the same situation. First is the helplessness experienced by the person with endometriosis, who must cope with symptoms and pain. Then, there is the partner’s helplessness, as they may want to provide even more support. In such moments, it is beneficial to create small relationship oases, brief respites where both partners can connect without the weight of endometriosis dominating their interactions.

The aim of these relationship oases is not to engage in extravagant or novel experiences. Instead, it is about intentionally carving out small breaks during which both partners can consciously set aside the burden of endometriosis, even momentarily. You might think everyday situations do not revolve around endometriosis, such as watching a movie or cooking together. However, the conscious decision to pause and take a short break when you realize that the condition significantly affects your thoughts and emotions makes these moments’ relationship oases. It is about communicating with your partner and saying, “Endometriosis is a prominent and stressful topic for us. Let us deliberately create a little break and be close.”

These relationship oases play a crucial role in your daily life. Please try to create them consciously and realistically to suit your circumstances. Essentially, they are almost always feasible mini-dates, even when endometriosis pain is at its worst.

For instance, during times of severe pain, a comforting relationship oasis can be:

Cuddling together as a couple, enjoying physical closeness (without necessarily involving sex), and listening to a podcast or audiobook together. Maintaining physical intimacy in a relationship is essential as long as both partners are comfortable. Actively engaging in a story, for example, temporarily diverts your thoughts from endometriosis and provides fresh conversation topics. You can discuss what you have heard afterward or ask each other questions about it.

On the other hand, when endometriosis symptoms are relatively manageable, a delightful relationship oasis can involve:

Taking a leisurely walk together or finding a serene spot outdoors to reflect on the highlights of your relationship. The goal here is to appreciate your relationship positively and possibly discover aspects you both miss and would like to experience more often together. You might find these questions helpful:

  • Can you recall moments when we shared hearty laughter?
  • Do you believe we have embarked on exciting adventures together? If so, which ones stand out?
  • Have we pursued any joint projects or hobbies? Are there new ones we’d like to explore? (Or should we consider discovering common hobbies?)
  • Is there any music that evokes memories of our love and time together?

Navigating Difficult Conversations About Endometriosis

When you find it challenging to broach the subject of endometriosis, refining your communication can be immensely helpful.

For instance, consider this approach: “I sometimes find myself overwhelmed by the impact of this condition, and it often leads to feelings of sadness. I have recognized that I need more support, and I wondered if you could be there for me. How do you feel about that? I can provide specific examples of situations where your support would greatly benefit me.” This manner of expression is inviting and free of blame. It openly acknowledges your emotions, such as feeling overwhelmed and sad, while allowing the other person to choose whether they are prepared to discuss this matter. If they are not ready to address it immediately, you can suggest scheduling a suitable time for a conversation to ensure you are not left feeling isolated. You might say, “I understand if this is not the right moment for you to discuss it. When would be a good time for you, when you have the mental space for it? This topic is significant to me.”

This approach allows both parties to plan an endo check-in (as mentioned earlier) or reschedule the conversation for a later time. This ensures that you both have adequate time and tranquility to prepare for the discussion, possibly addressing other matters beforehand.

Enhancing Physical Intimacy with Mindfulness

Is your relationship meeting the need for physical closeness (excluding sex in this context) for both of you? A relationship cannot overstate the significance of physical intimacy with heightened awareness. While quick kisses or brief touches on the side are always pleasant and essential forms of contact, there is more to physical closeness than these fleeting gestures and full-blown sexual encounters. How consciously do you and your partner integrate various forms of physical intimacy into your relationship? Here are two examples:

The 6-Second Kiss

This practice entails ensuring regular lip-to-lip kisses last at least 6 seconds. As a couple, you abolish quick, perfunctory pecks and replace them with more meaningful, lingering kisses. Even when it is just a simple lip kiss without engaging the tongue, the idea is to extend the kiss for at least 6 seconds. This deliberate approach allows you both to fully experience the kiss and deepen the sense of closeness in your relationship. (This concept originated from the research of John Gottmann, an American psychologist who extensively studied the differences between happy and unhappy couples. Among his findings, he identified that everyday physical closeness is a pivotal factor for a happy relationship).

Begin the Day with a Mindful Hug

If both of you wake up simultaneously on workdays, establish a routine of starting the day with a mindful hug. Of course, this ritual can also be scheduled at other times during the day. Stand facing each other and embrace. At first glance, this hug may not seem different from a regular one, but the distinction lies in the time and intention you allocate to it. Commit to remaining in each other’s arms for 4–5 minutes during this hug. Experiment with hugging even tighter, and savor this embrace’s profound closeness and tranquility. Regardless of what else transpires in your daily lives, regularly gift each other these moments of physical intimacy in your daily lives.

These 2 examples illustrate what I mean by deliberate physical intimacy. There are countless other delightful ways to incorporate this into your relationship. As a couple, explore which form of touch or physical closeness you want to enhance and enjoy even more.

Relationships Always Require Effort, Especially with Endometriosis

Maintaining a relationship always requires effort, and that is perfectly normal. Life circumstances, individual needs, and plans are constantly in flux. Moreover, external factors like health and work situations can present unique challenges to a relationship. Endometriosis is a significant factor in any relationship, and it is crucial to acknowledge and understand this as a couple. It is never about assigning blame for endometriosis; instead, it is about continuously fortifying your bond and recognizing that this challenge makes your relationship unique. You might need additional positive reinforcement more frequently or even assistance from external sources. Seeking couples counseling or therapy to bolster your relationship is entirely normal, not just during crises but also when you require support in navigating and strengthening it, whether in the context of endometriosis or other issues.

Use the Endo-App to record your well-being.

Click on the button below to access the Endo-App.

Do you have any comments or questions about strengthening relationships?

Feel free to leave us a comment.

Benachrichtige mich bei
Inline Feedbacks
Zeige alle
Naila Rediske
Latest posts by Naila Rediske (see all)