Strong relationships require work, dedication, and attention. While it is relatively easy to have a strong relationship when there is very little stress, the real test comes during times of disaster.
Disaster can come in a variety of forms. It may be a natural disaster like the recent superstorm Sandy that caused both to lose physical possessions or income. It could also be in the form of a disease, mental illness, losing a job, or anything else that causes stress in life. For some couples, this could be the end of the relationship. For others, these types of disasters can strengthen relationships beyond what they ever thought was possible.
During times of difficulty, couples need to be able to communicate effectively. Communicating is two sided. People need to listen to what the other is saying as well as express what they are feeling. However, it needs to be done in a way that is respectful. Sometimes when things get too hard, people shut down and try to handle the problems by themselves. This does nothing but damage the relationship and cause them to drift apart.
Couples also need to be able to trust each other. When things get hard, no one wants to worry about whether or not someone they love is going to hurt them or make matters worse. A support system that is trustworthy and stable is essential. This is true no matter what the situation is.
If the disaster affects both, such as in a natural disaster, then it is important for them to support each other. If the disaster is more one sided, as in the case of one member of the family becoming ill, then the other needs to step up and be the strong one in the relationship until his or her partner is capable.
Strong relationships are proven during times of disaster. If it was not strong before, the disaster has the change to strengthen relationships. While this is certainly true for romantic couples, it can also be applied to any other relationship you may encounter. People experience this in relationships with their friends, family members, coworkers, and anyone they may come into contact with.
Have discussions with the important people in your life regarding what you expect and what they can expect from you. You don’t have to wait until disaster hits to have a plan set in place. If the lines of communication are wide open from the beginning, you will have far less to worry about.