Relationship Tips from a Weekend Trip to IKEA
Don’t Do Stressful Things when Tired or Hungry
If you can avoid it, don’t shop, have intense conversations, or make stressful plans if you are not adequately hydrated, fed, and rested. Not having basic needs met can make any stressful event so much more tedious. Your fuse will be shorter and it’s hard to have empathy for others when your own needs are not met.
At IKEA, I found it super helpful to know what I needed to buy before I walked in the store. I planned ahead so that I knew exactly how much I’d be spending and where I would be looking for my items. In relationships, it is not always possible to plan ahead, but it’s a really good practice to talk with your partner about expectations, wants, needs, worries, and plans BEFORE these issues come up!
Famous relationship therapists, John and Julie Gottman, talk about how important humor can be in a relationship. They note how humor can help repair relationship ruptures , can lower tension, and can help keep a positive tone when dealing with rough situations. The same is true when shopping at IKEA 🙂 If you can laugh at yourself for going to the wrong side of the warehouse to find your closet door, you can also laugh at yourself for relationship misunderstandings.
According to your Ability
IKEA is pretty famous for sending you home to put together your own furniture. There are countless Youtube videos of people struggling to put their new furniture together. When completing projects, it’s so helpful for every person involved to work according to their ability. You’re strong? Great- you can carry the big box into to the car. You’re detailed-oriented? Perfect! You can translate the picture instructions! You’re not feeling well? That’s ok- you can warm up some left-overs for lunch. I think this is a great metaphor to figuring out who-does-what in a relationship. Having an open and honest discussion about each person’s abilities, interests, and energy levels can help partners figure out how to get everyday things completed!
I hope my Saturday afternoon IKEA relationship insights were helpful!