We all are exhausted from the pandemic and the varying emotions we have experienced in the past year — but that’s exactly why harnessing your emotional intelligence has never been more important. We’re all feeling stretched thin, so expecting others to know what you want or need isn’t going to get you far — it will probably just cause stress for you and your relationships. It takes a high EQ to be able to assess your own needs, and then specifically ask for what you need from your partner, but if you can do so your relationship will have a much higher level of peace during such a stressful season.

I faced a perfect example of this in my own life this week. I needed some rest, some down time, and my dear, hard-working husband wanted to talk business. I hadn’t been clear with him that I needed rest, so he didn’t know! And because I was so stressed, my response really wasn’t as kind or gentle as it could (and should) have been. But I did ask for what I needed in that moment, and I finally allowed my own needs to be important. I needed some time to just read a novel and relax. Then, something wonderful happened: when he understood my need to not overfunction for a few days, to rejuvenate and rest, he became my champion for this need to be fulfilled. That took me asking for what I needed; if I’d done so earlier, I can only imagine it would have been an even less stressful process for both of us.

How about you? What do you need — and does your partner know?