If there’s one thing for sure it’s that in life, there will be bumps in the road. How you handle life’s problems and stressors as a couple can make a big difference in the health of your marriage. Unfortunately, for some couples the stress of minor problems can tear their marriage apart. Take a look at how you and your spouse responds to unexpected problems and examine whether or not there are steps you can take to help them improve your relationship.
Accept that Mishaps Happen
Very few things are for certain in life, but one thing that can be counted on is that there will be bumps in the road. Minor mishaps ranging from rain the ruins your plans to lost luggage at the airport. There will be times that your car breaks down and your house needs repairs. There are bigger mishaps that will happen as well such as family illness, financial issues, and work related issues.
Examine your attitude toward life’s unexpected bumps in the road. How do you react when things happen? These are all the sorts of things that will happen in life, at any time throughout your marriage and your reaction to these issues can make a big difference in your marital satisfaction.
Couples who respond best to these sorts of circumstances just accept the fact that “that’s life.” They can roll with punches and respond well to stressors by making the best of it. They don’t let these mishaps ruin their plans, their day, or their marriage.
An unhealthy reaction to such mishaps that can take a toll on the marriage includes the “why me?” syndrome. When people constantly state they are the only ones with bad luck, that nothing good ever happens, or that “something always goes wrong,” they can develop a negative attitude that takes away the pleasure from spending time with them. People who react angrily to frustrations or overreact to such stressors can deter their partner from wanting to communicate with them, work with them on problem-solving, and approaching them with concerns.
If you tend to have a pessimistic attitude about life’s inconveniences, work on improving your outlook in life. It can make you a better spouse and help you develop a more pleasurable disposition. If your spouse has difficulty handling stress, role model how to do so with a positive attitude.
Support One Another
When you run into difficulties, how do you respond as a couple? Do you argue or blame your spouse when things aren’t going right? For example, if you run into a traffic jam do you say something like, “If we would have left earlier like I wanted this wouldn’t have happened?” Arguing and fighting makes life’s problems very stressful and it doesn’t do anything to solve the issue.
Healthy couples are able to support one another even in trying times. When they run into unexpected obstacles they ask one another, “Is there anything I can do for you?” Instead of focusing on their own stress, they work toward relieving their spouse’s distress. This can be an excellent way to proactively deal with life’s problems.
Confidence to Handle Problems
Strong couples have the confidence that their marriage can withstand problems in life. In contrast, couples who are holding on by a thread have the attitude of “we just can’t take one more thing,” or “what’s next?” when something happens.
Healthy couples recognize that their spouse is able to respond to problems appropriately and they know they can weather any storms that come their way. The confidence in their ability to deal with such problems makes life’s mishaps a lot less stressful.
Life’s mishaps can either make a couple grow apart or grow together. The stress of finances, raising children, and taking care of household responsibilities can lead to arguing, a lack of teamwork, and general instability in the relationship if they are not addressed in a healthy way. This can lead to 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. They learn from their experiences and can reflect on their mistakes. They can eventually look back and laugh at themselves by saying something such as “Remember that time…”
Getting Help to Deal with Stress
If you are having problems dealing with stressors in life seek professional help. This can assist you with learning skills to manage your stress while addressing your relationship. If your spouse isn’t interested in attending counseling with you, consider counseling for yourself. Individual therapy can be effective in teaching you skills to manage stress and deal with problems in a way that can improve your relationship, even if your spouse doesn’t attend.