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If you’ve ever had a sports injury, you’ve heard of RICE. Doctors recommend RICE for painful injuries like pulled muscles, sprains, and bruises. Funny the heart is also a muscle in your body. And it also gets “sprained” at times.

Maybe you haven’t heard of the RICE that is not the food, then let me help explain.

In the medical healing world RICE stands for:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Take it easy, wrap an ACE bandage tightly around the area, apply ice, and elevate the limb. These four steps speed up healing and reduce pain and inflammation. Before you know it, you’re back on your feet and ready to meet the day.

You can also use this gentle and compassionate approach in helping your body heal to bring healing loving to our relationships.

Apply the RICE approach to your heart and relationship and you are on you way to healing your heart and the connections in your relationship.

Relationships, Like Muscles, Need Care, Feeding, and Exercise

Before we can talk about applying RICE to your relationship let’s take take a look at just how close the analogy of a strained relationship is to a pulled hamstring.

Neglect your body and the more likely to injure yourself during physical activity. The more you use your muscles, the better they’ll work for you and protect the bones and ligaments in your body.

Carelessly ignore the external stresses of the environment the more likely you will slip on the ice and fall!

Likewise, relationships need maintenance, care and attention, too. Neglect or be careless of your relationship with your partner and it will grow more fragile over time. More susceptible to injury.

No matter how strong and loving your relationship with your partner is, external events and people such as work obligations, children, extended family will put stress on your relationship.

Apply RICE to Your Relationship

If you’re reading this blog I’ll assume your relationship is inflamed at the moment. Most likely you have noticed things are not working smoothly in your relationship. Some of the symptoms could be the following: too many resentful thoughts, too many long silences, too many unkind remarks or acts of thoughtlessness.

Do these sound like you?

  • Small disagreements quickly flare up into full-blown arguments.
  • You become easily disappointed or withdraw from your partner.
  • You find yourself gazing enviously at a loving, doting couple and wondering why you and your partner don’t have that anymore.

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These are typical symptoms of a strained relationship. Ignored, they will worsen causing a lonely distance between you and your partner. Before you even begin to talk about what is wrong, the problems pay attention to the inflamed space between you. This is where you can actively work quietly before the conversation about what is wrong with the intention of improving the space between. The environment around you and bringing down the inflammation. Remember you are treating the relationship not the person. Now is the time to apply RICE and heal some hearts.

In this context, RICE stands for:

  • Rest: Take a break from old patterns and observe your role in these interactions. Invite yourself to remain calm and meet all interactions with calm.
  • Interest: Be curious about your partner’s feelings and actively explore with the intended goal to uncover new information about what motivates your loved one.
  • Compassion: Genuinely be concerned as to l how your partner might feel about this situation. Let go of any right or wrong thinking. In this way of being the only truth(s) are the other person’s own experiences. Listen without acting on the desire to explain defend or inflame. Leave the conversation and ask yourself did I truly get my partners experience?
  • Engagement: You will naturally become engaged and feel more connected as you learn more about how your partner is feeling. Your sympathy will turn to empathy. Connection will cultivate caring.

The practice above will leave you feeling positive and closer to your partner. You will know that you’ve reached this point when you both feel calmer, more hopeful and maybe even more in control of the situation. It would be the best if you could both agree to try this way of interacting until it feels calm between you both. And the good news is that if only you are interested in doing this that you will see result and positive changes with applying RICE from your side only.

The idea is not to abandon the controversial conversations entirely, but take a break from it until another time when there is more calm and equanimity between you both. When you feel the sea you are sailing on together has calmed and your heart is feeling brave and caring again. You do not have to feel overwhelmed that you must solve everything at once. If you feel an inflammation coming on you can stop and take a rest from the disagreements or hurts. You can apply RICE while you are taking a pause and then You can re-enter the conversation at another time in the near future.With attention and intention you can take good care in your relationship and become one of those couples who seem to flow together.


icing” by Flickr user yoppy is licensed under CC BY 2.0

and how can you mend a broken heart” by Flickr user Kate Ter Harr is licensed under CC BY 2.0