04 Feb

I grew up in 2 different households, my mom and stepdad primarily but I also had a place with my father and stepmother. I always said I would only marry once. Nothing is perfect even when you think you have everything planned out. I had children before deciding if that man was my forever. My children are my forever and I am constantly worrying if I am doing the right thing. Once I finally chose a man who also chose me to be his forever, we wanted to make sure we do it right. Things are always changing and life is not motionless, finding ways to stay ahead in life is the goal instead of constantly figuring out a way to fix the damage.  

“Choose your battles wisely. After all, life isn't measured by how many times you stood up to fight. It's not winning battles that makes you happy, but it's how many times you turned away and chose to look into a better direction. Life is too short to spend it on warring. Fight only the most, most, most important ones, let the rest go.”
 ―  C. JoyBell C. 

Acknowledge and discuss the problem.
When the heat is on, don’t take your anger out on your spouse. 

  •  Women usually prefer to talk out a problem before hearing a solution. In fact, sometimes talking is the solution. 
  • Men tend to think in terms of solutions. That is understandable because men like fixing things. Offering solutions is his way of showing his wife that she can rely on him for help. So husbands are baffled when their solutions are not readily accepted.

Identify the stressors in your relationship. 
The most trying times you are likely to face as a couple may not even have much to do with the relationship, but how you each deal with the curveballs life can throw at you - and how you support one another when things are at their hardest. Once you have identified the issues, work together to find viable solutions. Some stressors are:

            Loss of a job- Reduce extra expenses wherever possible, cancel services you don't need, look into the process of unemployment insurance, explore the options in your area for food trucks, utility assistance, and the like, and above all, make finding new work your absolute top priority.

            Having a Baby- It's a lot more complicated than people anticipate, and the unexpected elements can stress couples to the point that they're fighting without even realizing it. You’re tired, stressed, and overwhelmed with new responsibility - even if it isn't your first child - and this makes people awfully short-tempered. If you're adding a member to your family, make a plan: know what to expect, talk about how you're going to handle the tough moments, and how you're going to work together to make the whole ordeal as stress-free for each other as possible.

            Fighting Through Addiction- This is a time when the support of a loving suppose is at its most valuable (as well as the help of professionals) and trying to get through the challenges together may end up making the relationship stronger. There isn't any way to get around the stress that fighting through an addiction will cause - what you can do, however, is focus on the goal at the end, and how much better the marriage will be when the two of you have fought and won a battle with addiction. Read about my addiction.      

            Injury/Illness- Fighting through an injury or illness is exhausting, stressful, potentially expensive, and just downright miserable. Getting angry at each other - no matter who's injured or ill - will do nothing to help the situation You can choose to wallow in an illness or injury, or you can dedicate your energy to thinking positive and coming back stronger than before. This positive thinking proposed by my husband has gotten me through my alcoholism and brain lesion. 

            Retirement- Retirement means changing finances (which we already know is a huge stressor), finding new ways to spend your time, redefining your identity outside of a career, and could even mean changing homes or locations. Instead of letting it stress you out, let this be a time of excitement! Change can be a great thing if you have the right outlook. Just because there are a lot of hoops to jump through, that doesn't mean it won't all be worth it in the end, or that the process itself can't be enjoyable.

            Death In The Family- This tough time can put couples at odds, but can also be a chance to truly support one another. Unfortunately, making funeral arrangements, dealing with the estate of the deceased, wills, inheritance, a home and all of the departed's affairs can be a stressor; working together to manage any responsibilities that arise will be the key. 

Only you have the power to control your mood, and keep a positive, forward-thinking outlook is critical to making it through these stressful scenarios with your marriage intact.

Acknowledge fear.
Because most of us do not like feeling scared, we have spent years developing strategies to try to control our fear. It's normal to feel scared, insecure, doubtful and off-center with the people we love and in relationships; you’re not a robot.

Be willing to ask for help. 
While it's relatively easy to ask for help with something practical, it's harder to ask when the help you need is personal. Don't be afraid to admit that you can't manage the household debt alone, or that you're getting in over your head with credit cards. Maybe you’re exhausted and need help around the house. People who want a successful marriage are willing to ask for help, both because they need help and because they realize their partner will in turn receive a lot in return in terms of self-respect, self-esteem, and self-worth.

List priorities, values and goals. 

Each of you make a list; read each other’s list and see what you have in common or are at complete odds about. Consider that some values or goals may initially appeal to you but upon deeper reflection, you realize that you don’t always hold them as a priority. Sometimes a couple can agree to disagree on a few values, as long as the communication is open.

Have an action plan. 
Dreams can motivate you to strive for the stars, but sometimes, you have to get your head out of the clouds. Devise a realistic schedule that you and your spouse can get excited about. Successful couples are those who believe in moving from YOU AND ME to WE. The moment you start using the word 'WE' it involves both of you whether it's loving, fighting, building a family or prospering financially; whatever you both combined in your action plan. 

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