When Loving Isn’t Easy
Welcome to planet earth, where your existence isn’t guaranteed, and the cosmos don’t owe you anything. You won’t always have sunshine and prosperity, and your health may decide to pack up and leave.
But what you can have, and should have, is someone by your side who promises to be with you “or better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.”
We’ve all seen or heard of relationships that hit hard times and get shattered. But the truth is that we all want a relationship that can survive the storms of life. We just don’t always want to be on the giving end; we would rather be comforted than comforting. In short, we can be very selfish when hard times hit.
Any relationship, particularly marriage, will face some difficult times. It’s not a question of “if,” it is a matter of “when.” Being prepared in advance can help you love your significant other even when it isn’t easy.
Remember What Your Mama Always Said?
How does one love when the going gets tough? It is as simple as the golden rule your mama taught you, “Treat others how you would want to be treated.” Imagine yourself in your partner’s shoes and act like you would want to be treated in this situation.
It all sounds so simple when it’s down on paper, but it is so hard to apply when everything is falling apart around you. When a partner loses their job, there is illness, a loved one passes or when a parent’s health is ailing.
So here are some practical tips on loving your partner through the thick and thin and when the going gets tough. You are sure to survive the down’s when you put these practices into play.
Be Flexible and Learn to Compromise
Too often, relationships fail when one partner is going through hardship, and the second feels like a victim. Seriously, it is unlikely that your significant other was laid off and lost their income solely to dash your dreams of greatness and financial security.
Like you, they are struggling through pain and discouragement and don’t need you to remind them of how bad things are. Learn to be flexible with your plans and compromise. This is the time to realize where your priorities lay. Do you love your partner for who they are, or only what they give?
Communicate Effectively: Now Is The Time
Communication is the key to a thriving relationship and if you’re going through the grinder, now’s the time to brush up or relearn how to communicate effectively. So here’s a crash course on communication.
1. Listen to what your partner is saying, not how he is saying it.
Your partner is not going to be as eloquent in describing and sharing his feelings as you see on the big screen. There may be anger and fear, and a whole tangle of emotions in a turmoil inside. If they are critical towards you, listen to what they are saying, not how they are saying it. Is it possible that their criticism is a cry for appreciation?
2. Don’t listen to respond, listen to understand
If your partner is saying something that triggers an emotional response, stop planning a defense. Instead, listen to hear what they are saying. After understanding his side and empathizing, it will be your turn to share.
3. Focus on nonverbal cues
4. Ask questions to clarify and understand
5. Be respectful. Make eye contact. Put the phone away
Choose Forgiveness and Patience
Choose to forgive your partner when you are offended and hurt. It is natural to respond with anger and resentment, but how will that help an emotionally difficult time?
Instead of focusing on the negative feelings you have toward your partner, choose to move forward.
Remember, this difficult time can be a catalyst to strengthen your relationship or a poison that destroys it. It all depends on your actions and reactions. So avoid blaming and criticizing. Chose to be patient and forgive.
Don’t let your sense of humor disappear. Let your humor shine through, and it will lighten your spirits.
Keep it real with expectations and promises. Your interaction or role in the relationship may have changed now that your partner cannot provide financial stability or is physically ill.
Demanding that your partner continues fulfilling their responsibilities when they are unable to do so is not very loving, is it?
Instead, talk about how you will divide responsibilities in the wake of these difficulties. Your roles may have changed but your love for each other hasn’t. Reaffirm your love and commitment to each other aloud.
Make Space for Romance
Am I still lovable? Does she appreciate me? Does he care? Questions such as these can plague our minds when we aren’t purposefully pursuing each other. It takes energy to make your partner feel they are loved.
You love being passionate, and so does your partner. Hardship doesn’t change that. In fact, when we are most unlovable is often when we need love the most right?
Take time for little things, such as holding hands and spending time doing something enjoyable. Keep those date nights going by revisiting your favorite movies at home or try something new together like going on a picnic if you’ve never done so before.
A relationship that makes it through the storms doesn’t just happen. It is forged through your decisions as you go through the fire. Putting this advice into practice when hardship rears its ugly face will help ease you into it. Just remember what your mama always said, “treat others like you want to be treated”.
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