In weddings, you make a vow to stick together for better or for worse, but no one really thinks about the “worse” in relationships. Married or not, keeping a relationship strong can be hard enough. Keeping a relationship strong through an external crisis can be even harder. External crisis can be a variety of things, loss of a loved one, miscarriage, financial crisis, relocation, and many more. The beauty of relationships is that a crisis can actually pull a couple closer together.
If this is your first big crisis to face as a couple, use this as a moment to check in with your partner. Everyone handles stressful situations and strong emotions differently. Don’t be afraid to ask what your partner needs from you. Some people need space to think, some need reassurance, and some people may just want someone to listen. Use this opportunity to think about what you need as well.
Check in with one another throughout the crisis. Ask how the other person is doing emotionally and if there is anything you can do for them today. Ask to see if they are feeling supported. Another important thing to remember is to be forgiving. You are both going through a difficult time. They something is said that is hurtful, try to understand that you are both going through a tough time. It is common that strong emotions cause us to lash out on people we love the most, and it is typically unintentional. If you catch yourself doing this, simply apologize and move on. If you are both going through this crisis and forgiveness and self-forgiveness is important.
Finally don’t model yourself after other couples. For most people you may naturally think you should handle things like your parents handled them, since that is your most influential reference point. What worked for your sister, neighbor, best friend, or parents may not work for you. This goes back to the realization that everyone manages their emotions differently and every couple will manage a crisis differently. Don’t add extra stress to the situation by comparing yourself to others.
It is important to remember that leaning into each other in a time of need is what will bring you closer together. If you are struggling with getting through a crisis in your relationship, reach out to a psychologist as a couple for support. They can help you get through this time as a team. To book in a time to speak to a psychologist call us on (02) 6262 6157 or book an appointment online.