Supportive Tips for Black Couples Surviving A Global Pandemic and Racial Injustice

Couples Therapy, Depression and Anxiety, Trauma Recovery for High-Achievers

In the midst of a global pandemic that has highlighted the disparities of healthcare access and resources for the Black Community, BlPOC are continuing to bear the ongoing realities of racial injustice in this world. While anxiety, depression, and trauma symptoms continue to increase, it’s imperative that we consider how traumatic stress held in Black bodies can also impact the interactional sequence of intimate relationships (even in the healthiest relationships).

Thus, the value of supportive tools specifically geared toward addressing the needs of Black Couples cannot be underestimated at this time. Trust and secure connection are not only what every couple longs for, but are what Black Couple’s especially deserve to build upon at this time. Below are eight useful tips that I’m hoping can help Black Couples strengthen their emotional bonds, while sorting through their emotional experiences.

1. Just as it’s important to explore core beliefs we hold, it’s equally important to get to KNOW what our core fears are and how they are activated in the midst of present external stressors. Through honest exchange, you can also get to know your partner’s core fears so that you can become an ally for one another’s safety and ease in the relationship.

2. Remember that you and your partner are living, breathing, evolving resources for one another’s safety and security. We’re as healthy as our closest relationships. While safety is about relief from threat in the body and nervous system, security is about healthy emotional, verbal, and physical reassurance that connection and resources will remain available. SHARE thoughts about the things that can help each of you find some calm, while soothing distress.

3. When conflicts arise, FOCUS more on being attentive to your partner’s motivations for their behaviors, instead of focusing solely on their behaviors. We miss a lot of meaningful details about loved ones when simply focusing on their behaviors and not “what” activates them do what they do.

4. Prioritize intentional moments to share together, so that love and desire can be fostered. What strengthens love can differ from what is needed to strengthen desire. THINK of what you need in order to feel loved by your partner, as well as what you need in order to feel desired. Then, curiously ASK your partner their own needs for love and desire. 

5. Let go of your ideals on how your relationship “should” look in the midst of uncertain times. Instead, take time at the start of each day to check-in as a team, evaluating what you BOTH need in order to continue to survive the realities of the world you two are navigating. 

6. Be gracious to one another, knowing that your Black bodies are already bearing so much in a world that hasn’t prioritized its needs. Remember that you are on the same TEAM, even when conflict tries to convince you otherwise.

7. Be accountable to each other’s health. This means, honoring that you both are likely more understanding and engaging, when you’ve had enough hours of sleep at night, when you’re hydrated, are keeping up your meal intake, and are meeting your physical WELLNESS needs. 

8. Support each other in having alone time when needed, recognizing that alone time doesn’t have to mean disconnection, and can be a NUTRITION boost for the relationship. 

Carmelle Ellison, LCSW

I help high-achieving adults, especially in the BIPOC community live authentically wholesome lives via telehealth therapy throughout California.

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