From Stress to Strength: Opportunity in Crisis for Partners at Home and Work


From Laura Andersen of LX2.

“So… what should we have for dinner tonight?”

For the past two years, I’ve wanted to ask that question more often. My husband commutes an hour each way so we usually get dinner together once per week at best.

Of course, this mandatory shelter-in-place is not how I ever imagined or hoped to get more time together, but here we are. Here we are having breakfast, lunch and dinner together every day… then at work on calls, separated by a wall that is not as insulated as we thought. And then here we are . . . hanging out in the same room all evening.

There are countless aspects of this setup for which I am grateful. Did I mention we have three meals a day and still have jobs? That we’re getting the time together I’d longed for? And, to date, we are healthy. From the starting point of gratitude, I’m working on a few challenges in our set up that are also mirrored at work.

Research shows that many of us revert to old communication patterns in times of stress. Perhaps the nasty tone that we’d finally coached out of ourselves comes creeping back, or our heightened need for control leads us to claw back work that we had finally mustered the courage to delegate. The stresses of change and uncertainty can make us more likely to annoy others, and they us.

Whether we’re with family members who are physically – if not emotionally – closer than ever, or colleagues who are resorting to old habits that didn’t work then and won’t work now, perhaps this is the time for us to take a deep breath, take stock of the situation, and communicate. In our intensive work with “paired clients,” Dan and I have helped pairs step back and see things anew, to get unstuck from assumptions and sub-optimal patterns. One consequence of this unsettling period is that we must step back and we can see things anew.

We offer three thoughts and tools to help you improve your communication with that significant other at home or work.

  1.  Start with you. Take our free personality inventory. Where might you grow your awareness of your own tendencies, habits and preferences
  2. Invite the other. Share the same link so your partner or colleague(s) can take the inventory too.
  3. Begin a conversation together to share new insights. Simply compare your results or, for additional insight, access a Strengthening Under Stress report – our Custom Pair Profile Report that is discounted by 50% for the month of April. This report gives you insights and strategies into how you and a partner can minimize conflict, exploit your different strengths, and manage your weaknesses.  You will see where you are each acting true-to-type, where you’re flexing to relate better, and where you can find the space to continue growing together.When times get tough, the tough get going… withself-awareness and curiosity to find the best shared path forward. As long as this heartbreaking crisis is a third presence in each of our relationships, it offers us a shared opportunity to make it through and emerge stronger than ever before…Leading with our best self!