One of the best qualities you can have in your relationship is resiliency. Every couple goes through their share of ups and downs. But truly resilient couples who come out the other side when going through hard times in a relationship can be stronger than before. So, what are these couples doing that everyone else isn't?
That means, they fight for what they want, even if that means sometimes fighting each other. They communicate in healthy ways and are open about their feelings with one another. Most importantly, they are both crystal-clear about what it is they want out of the relationship.
"If they are ever in a misalignment, they know how to set the agreement to which both feel satisfied in the relationship," Ponaman says.
Being able to overcome the challenges in your relationship requires a bit of preparation. Couples who are resilient know that it's important to consistently work at their relationship each and every day. According to experts, it's the things they do on a daily basis when everything is all good that really sets them apart.
So if you and your partner can do these things, your relationship may survive tough times.
1. Work On Your Friendship
If you want your relationship to survive hardship, work on having a solid foundation of friendship with your significant other. "All relationships have ups and downs and there will be times when you don’t feel in love with your partner," therapist Alisha Powell, PhD, LCSW, tells Bustle. "Having a friendship with them ensures that there is a cushion for hard times when you both don’t feel like being romantic with each other." It's not that hard to do. Like any friendship, it requires spending time together, talking, and being there for each other when it's needed.
2. Have Regular Date Nights Out
Having the ability to overcome anything requires the will to do so. When you're in a relationship, you're more likely to fight for it if you feel deeply connected to your partner. "Regular date nights are a wonderful way for couples to connect and communicate," Nedra Glover Tawwab, LCSW-Owner of Kaleidoscope Counseling tells Bustle. "When couples aren't dating each other on a regular basis, this may be a sign that the fire has frizzled. Unspoken needs go unfulfilled and often lead to resentment." It also makes it easier for you or your partner to check out.
3. Chill At Home Alone Together
If you rarely have those quite nights in with your partner just enjoying each other's company, Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle you may not survive hard times. "Life gets busy," he says. "If a couple doesn't prioritize spending time with each other, they will probably find it harder to overcome tough times together."
4. Work Out Problems As They Come
As Ponaman says, most people don’t like working out problems as they come because they’re afraid that the relationship will be over before they even give it a fighting chance. However, "couples that don’t work through smaller problems right away find tough times to be catastrophic," she says. Instead of feeling the pain in the moment and working through it together, they choose to avoid it and pray it goes away magically, on its own. If you haven't learned how to work out smaller issues, how can you expect to successfully work out major ones?
5. Show Your Vulnerability
Emotional intimacy is one of the many glues that hold a relationship together. Opening up and being vulnerable gives you the opportunity to connect with your partner on a deeper level. "People who are not able to feel vulnerable with a partner usually don't feel safe enough to be themselves," couples therapist Shamyra Howard, LCSW, tells Bustle. "There is no love without vulnerability. Therefore, there may not be true intimacy." Overcoming challenges requires being able to let your guard down. If you have trouble allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable with your partner, surviving tough times together may be a huge challenge for you.
6. Be Open And Honest About Your Financial Situation
Money can be a major relationship killer if you're not on the same page. In fact, studies have found it's the biggest source of stress in a relationship. "Anxiety regarding finances can put a halt on intimacy and cause major relationship dissatisfaction," Howard says. If your hardship stems from money issues, it only makes matters worse if one partner is hiding something from the other. So to overcome that, it's important to always keep each other in the loop about your financial situation so there are no surprises.
7. Communicate Your Feelings To Each Other Without Opening It Up To Everyone Else
"Couples should be able to work through problems together first," Ponaman says. "If a couple consistently seeks the advice of their friends rather than working through it [together], the trust in the relationship has been lost." If you're going to survive tough times, you need to talk to your partner about how you're feeling so you can work through things together. You shouldn't always be opening up about your issues to your friends, your mom, or your sister. It should be your partner, first and foremost. "Relationship problems are never ... one-sided," she says. "It takes two to make the magic happen, both good and bad."
8. Get Together With Mutual Friends
You shouldn't try to work out your relationship issues with outside sources. However, you should have a good group of people who support you both as a couple. Couples who are able to overcome tough times together have a shared social circle, Brianna Rader, relationship educator and founder of the Juicebox Sex & Relationship App tells Bustle. "You don't need to have all the same friends, however, it's important to have a social network that can support you as individuals and as a couple," she says. So get to know each other's friends and family. If your existing social groups aren't a good fit, try making new friends together.
9. Celebrate The Good Times Together
"One thing that gets overlooked is celebrating," Rader says. "It's important to mark occasions and celebrate each other's milestones from birthdays to promotions." After all, if you can't support each other during the good times, how can you be there during the tough ones?
You and your partner can be as happy as you want, but you should still be prepared for any ups and downs life decides to throw at you. If you make it a point to consistently do any of the above, you'll be able to overcome anything together.