How The Worst Year of My Life Was The Best Year of My Marriage
posted on October 21, 2019 | by Kelley Matney
Stressful life events can put a strain on any relationship, especially a marriage. A couple years ago, my partner and I went through several stressful events one right after another. First, we experienced the sudden death of his brother and within weeks I was also laid off from my job. A few months later, my partner needed an emergency appendectomy, which ended up not being covered by our insurance, which was only for ‘preventive care.’ Then shortly after, we were informed the inflamed appendix was caused by a cancerous tumor. This set of months of waiting and scans to find out if the cancer had all been removed with surgery or if it had spread.
Any one of these events individually is enough to put any relationship under pressure. But, all of them within the span of a year turned it into one of the toughest years of my life, but luckily my relationship with my partner not only survived it thrived.
Now don’t get me wrong there were definitely times where things got hard. I would get frustrated and just snap…loudly; and there were other times where my partner would retreat emotionally refusing to talk about anything. But we would work through it and realizing that we could genuinely rely on each other when things got truly difficult made our relationship even stronger. It’s cliché but if we could make it through this horrible year, we could make it through anything.
They Could Relate
It helped to have someone who knew exactly what I was going through, who could understand all the things I was worried about. Our friends and family were supportive and empathetic but with my partner, I never had to explain. With him, I could just feel the extent of my pain, stress and worry in my own way and he was a safe space for me do so without fear of judgment.
We Played Off Each Other’s Strengths
My partner deals with stress by smiling his way through the pain, fake it ‘til you make it. I, on the other hand, tend to wallow, go over the emotions again and again and again in my head. He knew when I needed to get up off the couch and get out of a funk and I knew when avoiding the issues weren’t really serving him and he needed to better process things.
They Were an Escape
When struggling with incredibly stressful life events or changes it can be hard to think about anything else. But for your mental health sometimes that is exactly what you need. Focusing on why we were together in the first place, the love, laughter and fun, made getting through it all so much easier. Only we had to power to control our moods and keeping it positive and focusing on the fun in our marriage made all the difference in the world.
Don’t let the stress of life changes come between your relationship. Together, you are strong enough to deal with the biggest challenges and get through them together.
How do you handle stress in your relationship? Let us know in the comments below.