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Practicing Tolerance In Your Relationship

Tolerance Is Key To Building A Healthy Relationship

How easy is it to say something nasty when you are agitated or tired? I think rather easily. The tongue tends to slip foul language when we are tired, overworked, stressed, or irritable.

The issue in relationships is that regardless of how agitated, tired or overworked one is, the negative hurtful language should not take place. It simply creates chaos in relationships.

The strategies that I touch on are the same that I teach in the Relationship Building Course CLICK HERE to explore how it can help your relationship.

When working with couple’s in my counseling practice, I find that each partner has a tolerance level. Imagine that you are a character in a video game. The more energy that you have, the stronger off you are. The less energy you have, the weaker you are.

In relationships, we need to do our best to monitor our individual level of tolerance in order to be our best self for our partner. When life gets in the way or work becomes the main priority, the tolerance meter is impacted. You may find yourself low on the meter, meaning that you feel tired or irritable and are more likely to behave negatively.

Below is a simple and clear way to understand the tolerance meter.

  • Meter has two levels.
    • Low: This level means that you have the low tolerance for your partner. You may find yourself easily agitated or provoked by little things. You may find that the relationship is consumed with conflict and arguments.
    • High: This level means that you have the high tolerance for your partner. You are able to think and process the conflict. You are able to hold back hurt statements and practice empathy or understanding.

The goal of the tolerance meter is to create a system for evaluation. A system in which you and your partner are able to identify what is causing the low tolerance or the high tolerance.


Examples of factors that impact tolerance include:

  • Avoiding arguments due to feeling anxiety with confrontation.
  • Not spending time together.
  • Arguing or engaging in negative conflict.
  • Using hurtful statements.
  • Including each other in favorite activities.
  • Going on dates.
  • Work life balance.

Below are questions that you and your partner can answer and evaluate. Each of the questions allows an opportunity to overcome the challenge.

  • Have I annoyed you this week?
  • Have I said or done anything that hurt you this week?
  • What have we done positive this week?
  • How have I shown my partner appreciation this week?
  • How have I worked with my partner this week?
  • Did I engage in self-care this week?


The goal of the questions is to:

  • Gain a stronger understanding of what actions impacted the tolerance meter.
  • Build skills to support the tolerance meter with balance.
  • Practice empathy and support.
  • Create a system that allows for a healthy tolerance level.


In order to allow this new habit to take root in your relationship, there must be added value. Habits that are organized, value-driven and properly structured allow a person to have the peace of mind to follow direction without feeling overwhelmed or consumed. As a relationship counselor, I highly support the utilization and implementation of healthy habits.

When a person associates the positive value to an act of change, they are often more willing to engage in the task and effectively complete it. You can work to increase value per specific task as a goal to improve success.

Make it a priority to commit time to this exercise. The important factor to remember is that you are working to create a meaningful experience while showing your significant other that they are valued, needed, wanted, and loved.

Practicing Tolerance In Your Relationship

Juan Santos M.S., CRC, LPC

Mr. Juan Santos is a professional counselor, private practice consultant and book author who specializes in relationship stability and understanding separation indicators. He has conducted hundreds of couples counseling sessions. Mr. Santos is the creator of two successful relationship strengthening courses: "A Marriage Preparation Course: For Premarital Couples" and "The Relationship Building Course: For struggling couples". He is the author of the following self-help psychology books: Couples Workbook: Making Your Relationship Work; 100 Ways Married Men Can Remain Emotionally Connected; Life Without Stress, My Journal, and Parenting Education for Hispanic Families. Mr. Santos is the owner of Santos Counseling PLLC a counseling private practice located in Greensboro and Winston-Salem, NC. Mr. Santos is currently completing his doctoral studies at the University of the Cumberlands. He spends his time away from work with his family enjoying the great outdoors.

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APA Reference
Santos, J. (2018). Practicing Tolerance In Your Relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 18, 2019, from


Last updated: 16 Apr 2018
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