There are some couples who have already gone through a lot of hardship before walking down the aisle, so they know they can survive anything together. But most couples get to face pretty smooth sailing until saying, “I do”. Sure, they’ll have their lover’s quarrels, but the mere fact that they were able to plan a wedding and walk down the aisle means that life didn’t throw any truly earth-shattering curve balls their way before the big day. That’s how it should be, really. The first few years of a relationship should be fun! But that doesn’t mean you can turn a blind eye to the fact that not all of life as a couple will be easy and light. Enjoy the easy years, but keep your eyes open and make sure you and your significant other could survive if things got rough. Here are life challenges that will put your marriage to the test.
If you suffer a miscarriage, this can put a tremendous amount of stress on a marriage. Because it is such a sensitive subject, it’s common for both people in the marriage to silently harbor questions like, “Did the woman cause this? Did the woman do something in her past that made her womb inhospitable?” or “Does my husband wish he’d married somebody else? Does my husband blame me?” It can be very beneficial to see a couples’ counselor after a miscarriage—specifically one who specializes in fertility issues within couples. They can navigate you through this painful and confusing time while keeping you from emotionally hurting each other.
A sick parent
If either of you is fortunate enough to still have a parent alive and to have a relationship with that parent, one day, that person will become sick. Eventually, as life goes, they’ll become so sick that it will be apparent to everyone they’re nearing the end of their life. If this is your parent, a lot will be required of you during this time, from accompanying the parent on hospital visits, sitting in on conversations about their estate and more. You’ll naturally be an emotional wreck. It’s a life event that will completely consume your life, and could drag out for months or even years. Your marriage will get almost no attention during that time. But if your marriage is strong, it can withstand it.
You or your partner might go through a depression—if not several—during your marriage. When one person in a marriage is depressed, the needs of the other (physical and emotional) cannot be met. The depressed person, not meaning to, can become a burden on their spouse, who is left picking up their partner’s slack around the home, and taking care of them. But a strong couple doesn’t go into a marriage thinking, “I’ll only stick around so long as it’s fun and easy.”
Sudden success or fame
If one person experiences a sudden surge in success or fame—maybe they sell a million dollar idea or wind up on the news for a heroic act—this can change the couple’s life overnight. People will come out of the woodwork, asking for favors, money, connections and help from the successful person. It can make the successful person cocky, and lose touch with what really matters. Both individuals need to stay very level-headed and remember their values when and if this happens.
A dispute with in-laws
One day, one set of in-laws is going to put their nose where it doesn’t belong and it’s going to cause a lot of tension between you and your spouse. Maybe your in-laws are very pushy about your raising your children in their religion, but your partner and you had a different agreement. This could be a lifelong dispute in your family.
The research is out there: having children can be bad for a marriage. Your relationship goes from all about the two of you to all about somebody else. Before, you made decisions based on the question, “What’s good for us as a couple?” Now all of your decisions will be based on the question, “What’s good for the child?” And what’s good for the children isn’t always good for the couple.
Struggling to buy a home
A lot of couples are shocked to find that they are much further off from being able to buy a home than they thought. That means that the apartment they planned on only being in for three years—they’ll have to be in for six years. And their relationship may not have been ready for being stuck in that small space, in that neighborhood they less-than-love, for that extra time.
One person becomes bedridden
A surgery or serious illness could cause one person in the couple to be bedridden for months. That doesn’t sound long now, but when it happens, the healthy person can feel imprisoned—their entire life becomes about taking care of their partner. Even the best person with the purest intentions can become exhausted and irritable under these conditions.
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