We are going through an unprecedented crisis right now and many people are wondering how couples survive when times are as tough as these.
It’s a good question. And, while these are particularly tough times, couples are often faced with crises over the course of their relationship. Jobs are lost, kids get in trouble, parents get old, cars are crashed…the list goes on and on.
And, with each and every crisis, couples have to navigate the murky waters that accompany them and try to help each other stay afloat.
So, how couples survive during times of crisis is by keeping these few things in mind.
1. Don’t stop talking.
One thing that couples tend to really struggle with is communication.
Remember, in the beginning, when you would stay up until all hours of the night, sharing your history and your hopes and dreams? And now, after a certain amount of time together, healthy communication has, to a large degree, slowed down.
Instead of talking about what each other wants or needs, couples tend to sink into themselves. Women often want their partners to know what they need without having to tell them. Men often have no idea what their partner needs and therefore are hesitant to try anything for fear of being wrong.
It is important that, when considering how couples survive during times of crisis, couples make an effort to communicate with their partners, not only their wants and needs but to talk to each other like human beings. When communication stops, it can be hard to start up again so keeping the lines of communication open will allow each person to know that their person is there for them if they need them to be and to know that they can, in turn, be there for their partner.
Surviving crises can be difficult as a couple but, if lines of communication are kept open, getting through them can often be easier as a team.
2. Respect each other’s feelings.
I remember, at the beginning of this Covid-19 crisis, my partner and I had very different needs.
I needed to read everything about it that I could and share it out loud. My partner didn’t want the constant updates because they were stressing him out. Because he is patient with me and loves me, he didn’t tell me that my updates were stressing him out. Fortunately, one day he wasn’t able to hide his feelings of anguish and I saw what my words were doing to him. So, I stopped updating him and still indulged my need to know everything. Silently.
Things don’t always work out this way. Oftentimes couple’s needs are so diametrically opposed to each other that they are completely incomprehensible to the other person. I have heard stories of couples who have lost children and were driven apart because of each other’s modes of grieving. They just couldn’t understand what the other was doing and it caused resentment and further anguish.
It is important to notice, as I did, or ask your partner, what they need in a crisis. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for the other. And vice versa. If you can respect what your partner does and needs, and in turn share your own, you are more likely to be a model of how couples survive in a crisis and not one of many whose relationships just don’t make it through.
Want to know more about why respect is important in a relationship? Read Why Lack of Respect Kills Relationship and Ways To Bring It Back
3. Don’t be selfish.
Many relationships have certain patterns, patterns that make their relationship special. Whether it’s foot rubs in front of the TV or always being responsible for the laundry or getting up early to walk the dog, there are things that people do for each other to make them feel loved.