As we all know, there will always be bumps in the road. The way in which you handle them as a couple is what can make or break the health of your marriage. Sometimes, stressors and complications create problems in a relationship that may seem impossible to overcome. Here are some tips on how to get through the stresses in life alongside your partner.
Expect and Accept that Mishaps Happen
Life has its ups and downs and, unfortunately, everything can't go perfectly all the time. Perhaps a rainstorm ruins your plans for the day or they've lost your luggage at the airport (again). Maybe your roof is beginning to leak or your car won't start. You are having troubles at work or maybe you are struggling financially.
Approaching these issues with the right attitude is where the difference is made on your happiness and your marital satisfaction. Couples who respond best to these sorts of circumstances just accept the fact that “that’s life.” They are the couples that make the best of the situation, no matter what life throws at them. No matter what, DON'T LET THESE MISHAPS RUIN YOUR PLANS! Just adjust them to fit in with your plans! Take the kids out to jump in the puddles and make mud pies. Order in your meal at the hotel and stay in for the night in the comfy travel clothes you're wearing. Find ways to save some money for possible troubles with the home and car such as less restaurant meals, using as many coupons as possible, or trying out the clearance section of the store.
Allowing yourself to have an unhealthy reaction to 'life's little bumps' can take a toll on the marriage or partnership. If you find yourself asking “why me?”, it's time to take a step back and try a different approach. Things like this happen to EVERYONE, not just you. If you constantly state you are the only one with such bad luck and that nothing good ever happens, you will develop a negative attitude that will only take away the joy your partner can have spending time with you. This negativity will eventually create a rigid crease in even the strongest relationship. If you find yourself reacting angrily or overreacting to frustrations, this may deter your partner from wanting to communicate with you, work with you to problem-solve, or approach you with their concerns.
Turn that Frown Upside Down!
If you find you are carrying a pessimistic attitude, work on improving your outlook in life. If you are on the other end of this situation, and you find your spouse is having difficulty handling stress with a positive attitude, become a role model of how to do so and be sure to approach them with patience. It is not easy to change a pessimistic attitude and it may not happen over night but honesty and patience and go a long way to help someone out from under their grey cloud.
Skip the Blame Game
How a couple responds to stress is a defining part of creating or destroying happiness in a relationship. Do you two argue or blame each other when things go wrong? For example, if you run into a traffic jam does one of you say something like, “If we would have left earlier like I said, this wouldn’t have happened!” Placing the blame on one another will only make life’s problems more stressful and it doesn’t do anything to solve the issue.
Instead of playing the blame game, try supporting your partner instead. Ask your S.O. "How can I help?" Instead of focusing on your own stress, work toward relieving your partners distress. This can be an excellent way to proactively deal with life’s problems and you will find that once your partner is feeling better, you will, too.
Make the 'Bumps in the Road' into an Opportunity to Grow Together
Life’s little (and big) bumps can either make a couple grow apart or grow together. Which way do you want to grow? When problems are approached in an unhealthy or pessimistic way, there could be a breakdown in communication and an overall feeling of distance between partners.
Healthy couples can take the problems in life and grow as individuals as well as a couple. Take the opportunity to learn from your experiences and reflect on mistakes. Be honest and open with your partner about your frustrations and try to find the positives in any unwanted situation. Support your loved one through their troubles with grace and patience and you will find yourselves having more productive conversations that will continue to make you feel closer and stronger.