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- “I don’t have the answers. But I won’t stop helping you ask questions, and I am here for you no matter what.”
- Specific Offers. Don’t make your partner think! Let them know you ARE going to help, period. Offer words like: “Consider yourself off-duty for the rest of the day. Would you like me to start by running you a bubble bath or putting on your favorite music? I am also cooking you dinner. You may choose from your favorite enchiladas or your favorite take-out. Which do you prefer?”
- Notes on the Mirror. This can be done in steam, lipstick, bar of soap, shaving cream, etc. Even just an, “I love you. We are in this together,” or “You are not alone. I am here with you every step of the way. And if you want to flee to Mexico, I’ll drive!”
- Back massage, foot massage, etc.
- Ask questions unrelated to the current stressors. “Could you tell me that story about the time you almost got kicked out of summer camp for tee-peeing your counselor's tent?” For other ideas CLICK HERE.
- Remind them of the promise you made when you got together. (Whether that’s “sickness and health,” “for better or for worse,” or personal promises you made to each other. Assure them you’re here for the long haul.
- Affection. Something as simple as holding a hand, rubbing their back, or playing with their hair can bring blood pressure down.
- Gather inspiring quotes. Place them in places that will be meaningful to your partner (on their car dashboard, above their bed, in their purse, etc.). Here are a few examples: Lets promise that if we hit a wall, we’ll agree to start by focusing on just one brick. Whatever happens here, remember: Do sharks worry? No. They’re up early biting shit, chasing stuff, being scary. Reminding everyone they’re freaking sharks. We’ll be sharks. The only time someone can be brave is when they’re also genuinely afraid at the same time. I’m here doing both with you.
- Make them a playlist. These can be weekly if you’re ambitious. Themes perhaps? Bad '70s TV theme songs, sentimental songs, one hit wonders?
- Offer to do their hair/make-up, fancy lotion hand massage, etc.
- Give a basket of magazines! Make them juicy or hysterical (tabloid magazines can make for a fun night in. Add ice cream and you’ve got a date!)
- Gift them new sweats, pajamas, etc. Something tactile like fuzzy fleece, satin, etc. Maybe buy ridiculous ones and attach a note, “It’s ridiculous you are going through this. Dress accordingly.”
- Make, or purchase, a good-luck charm to have in their pocket or squeeze. Balloons filled with rice or playdough, a keychain, or a stone make great, inexpensive trinkets.
- Remind your partner that although you may not be able to promise a specific outcome, you can promise love and a commitment to peace. Then, follow through!
- Just listen. Let them know you can be their sounding board.
- Make time to talk about other things! Don’t let yourself get swallowed up by the situation. Your body may be sick, but that doesn’t mean your whole existence has to be. Nurture other parts of your relationship— watch movies together, laugh together, etc.
- Go with the flow. Let your gestures happen organically. Key in to your partner— what do they need TODAY? Maybe it’s a day they need permission to just rest, or maybe it’s a day they are going stir-crazy and really could use a change of scene. You know them better than anybody, so trust that, and react accordingly.