...or whichever comes first, depends on the situation I suppose....
After a not-so-pleasant night I had, I found myself finishing deadlines for my clients, and that didn't give me time to fume about what happened. While beating deadlines, I mentally went through what I call the simple acts of caring and understanding, that we can all demonstrate as a sign of commitment to our partner and our relationship as a whole. Here goes:
Communicate. Communicate, communicate, and communicate. Don't let any baseless thought scare you out of your wits without first asking your partner what's going on - if you sense there's something going on.
Ask. Inquire in a caring and understanding tone as possible, if you sense something concerns or bothers your partner, that somehow affects how he/she interacts with you.
Listen. Give your full attention to what he/she has to say, and let him/her finish before you dish out your two cents' worth.
Be rational. Meeting his/her emotions, as in most cases, result only in a more catastrophic situation. As much as possible, stay calm as you get to know the details of the situation at hand.
Suggest. As much as possible, don't impose, but offer things he/she or both of you can do to improve whatever that's bothering him/her.
Leave the past in the past. True, at times, we get to bring up our partner's past, or pasts, or any unpleasant or ugly situation that previously happened, while tackling a new problem, or a by-product of an old issue you dealt with. As much as possible, focus on the present, and deal with the current situation, as you can't reverse what had already happened, and bringing it up, amid a flurry of emotions, will only make matters worse.
Have a sense of humor. Still about you and your partner's past or pasts, it's all right to talk about the past, or pasts, but put it in a more light, and enlightening context for the both of you - this shows you already forgot about it, and if it gets to be mentioned again, you can now just make a joke and laugh about it.
Work as a team. Solving an issue together makes you two as a team, that you're partners, and that you're ready for any challenge - challenge that eventually will strengthen your relationship.
Be each other's strength. After all the exchange of words, and sleepless night or two or more due to unsettled matter that affect, and took over the two of you, take time to talk things out, and resolve an issue, and renew your commitment of love and trust to each other. After all, we only have our loved ones both in good and in bad times, so continue and strengthen your love and trust to each other, and trust and love toward the end.
Note that I often mentioned here "as much as possible..." because really, those mentioned sound simple, but it really takes an effort for us to be the best person we can be to our loved ones. And "mastering" those acts of caring and understanding takes overtime, so....But if we're all committed to love and trust, trust and love, then, I think, nothing is impossible.
(Rach, thanks for a night of chat.)