All relationships go through a rough patch at some point. But that doesn’t mean you should give up! Here are some ways to help you get through them. By Lianne Choo
Not many couples survive through rough patches especially if it’s not their first time dealing with certain issues. There is only so much bending that a relationship can take before it snaps like a dried up old twig.
During an interview for the May 2013 issue of Glamour UK magazine, Hollywood royalty Gwyneth Paltrow said, “When two people throw in the towel at the same time, then you break up, but if one person’s saying: ‘Come on, we can do this,’ you carry on.”
A reason why relationships tend to fail is because both parties give up at the same time. Even if just one person keeps up the fight, there is a high chance that things will work out in the end. I suppose both Paltrow and ex Chris Martin chose to give up at the same time, as Paltrow is now newly single. [Read: 20 reasons for divorce that couples overlook]
Even so, her quote applies to everyone out there currently in a relationship. Whether it is dealing with infidelity, money troubles, career drama or a clash of personalities between you and your loved one, there is always a way to survive a rough patch. The only thing to consider is whether both sides want to fight for it.
How to get through obstacles in a relationship
No relationship is perfect. If anyone ever says that it is, then you know for a fact that they have no idea what they are talking about. Being someone’s special person takes hard work, effort and sacrifice. Whether it is giving up your time, money, goals or sanity, being in love is a lot more demanding than it is easy. Regardless of all of that, there is no denying that it is all worth it. Here are 10 ways on how you and your partner can get through a rough patch.
#1 Find perspective. Figure out why you are in a relationship with this person at all. Most people will say it is because they want companionship, to start a family, stability, love and other emotional factors. When you can focus on why you and your partner have agreed to become an ‘us,’ you put things into perspective and make it simpler to get through a rough patch as you now know why you are doing it.
#2 Regularly check your relationship’s vital signs. You have to conduct regular maintenance on your relationship whether you want to or not. Like the human body, a relationship is made up of many working parts and in order for it to function well, you have to make sure that every part is at its optimum level.
Pay attention to increased impatience, anger, disagreements and so on. Diagnose them and do whatever you can to expel these negative emotions and behaviors from your life. It’s better to handle problems as they come, instead of piling them up and solving them in one fell swoop. [Read: 16 silly bad habits that can hurt your relationship]
#3 Weigh the pros and cons. See which list is longer and you will be able to think a lot clearer. The pros will usually outweigh the cons, making it clear why you are with your partner. If by some chance the cons list is longer or more significant than the pros list, then it may be time to consider ending the relationship. [Read: 16 signs it’s time to break up and move on]
#4 Don’t be afraid to change. Whether you are going through your first rough patch or the hundredth, there is no denying that something has to change if you want things to improve. Do not be afraid to change if you have to. Sure, many people will tell you that you should never change who you are for someone else, but what is wrong with tweaking your attitude to be more tolerant, patient, kind and loving? Absolutely nothing! Hence do not be afraid to change for the better.
#5 Get some help. If you and your partner have hit a rough patch and do not know what to do next, there is no shame in reaching out for help. Speak to a marriage therapist, couples counselor or to a close friend. Getting input from an unbiased third party will do wonders for your relationship. Sometimes, all you need to get through a difficult time is someone else’s opinion and advice on what to do next.
#6 Strive for the same thing. There is a saying stating that the key to a happy relationship is not to look at each other but to look in the same direction. A good reason why your relationship has hit a rough patch is because both of you are not working towards the same goals. Sit down with your partner and have a serious discussion on what both of you want. Come up with a one-year plan, 5-year plan, 10-year plan and so on, and whatever it is, do it together.
#7 Compromise often. Ask anyone who has ever been in a long term relationship and they will tell you that plenty of compromise and sacrifice are involved. Making your partner happy sometimes comes at your expense and you have to be prepared to give up certain things for the overall health of the relationship.
The golden rule is to compromise often, even if it means going somewhere or doing something that you never imagined yourself doing. Whether it is something massive like relocating to another country to support your husband’s career or taking your wife to the ballet on her birthday, these are just some of the things that you have to do to maintain the happiness in your relationship.
#8 Look for the silver lining. Getting through a rough patch in your relationship is no easy feat if you are constantly negative. How you handle what is happening now will affect the situation’s outcome. If you cannot see the positivity in the situation, things will never improve.
Sure, it may be hard to look for the silver lining during such a dark hour, but if you want to get through it with your relationship intact, you must try your very best. For example, you should look at rough patches as learning experiences and opportunities to fix what is broken, so that you need not deal with the same problem in the future. [Read: Is negative thinking ruining your life?]
#9 Look back at the good times. Think of doing this as a reminder of why you’re still holding on after all this time. Getting nostalgic will lead to other positive emotions such as appreciation, happiness, love and most importantly, the will to fight to keep the relationship alive. Keep reminding yourself that things were not always bad and you will be just fine. [Read: 8 little habits that bring couples closer together]
#10 Be grateful. Once you are grateful for what you have, you will find that things are not so bad after all. Being grateful will not only help you get through a rough patch, it will also give you the strength to push through and to be a better partner. Once you see all the wonderful things that your loved one can offer you, you will do your very best to reciprocate, and that’s when things will start getting better.
A rough patch is not a death sentence. Rather, it’s a learning experience that makes couples stronger. Once you deal with these issues, you will come out with a stronger bond that only adversity can foster.
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Born in Singapore and raised in Malaysia to multi-racial parents, Lianne is a self-proclaimed travel and food junkie. Having traveled extensively around the wor...