Author Robert A. Heinlein once wrote, “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
This quote rings loud and clear to couples all over the world. Whether you have been together for 40 years or 40 minutes, being able to prop your partner up and make them smile during hard times is an unmistakable challenge worth undergoing to become stronger. Only when a couple goes through hardship will the players be able to tell if it’s worth sticking it out and working at it.
Forgiveness is a big factor when it comes to relationships. Patience, kindness, and understanding, too, play a huge role in keeping relationships strong. This may seem very cliché, and you may have heard advice like this thousands of times before, but there’s plenty of truth to it. You may not be able to control who you fall in love with, but you certainly can control how you go about loving this person in times of sadness and trouble.
What relationship problems make relationships better?
Troubles can serve as a wakeup call. Are you with the right person? Will they really be there through thick and thin? Sickness and health? There’s only one way to find out.
I, for one, would never wish these troubles on anyone, but if you have the misfortune of going through one or more of the issues identified below, the silver lining is that you can determine if the one you’re with is the right one for you. As detestable as this list is, here are 8 troubles that can strengthen your bond as a couple.
#1 Financial issues. Dealing with money troubles is a surefire way for you to gauge how strong your relationship is. Many people run for the hills when their partner is faced with financial ruin. However, if you and your partner can stick together and get rid of the financial burden as a team, it will undoubtedly make your bond stronger than ever. [Read: 17 brilliant tips to save money as a couple]
#2 Infidelity. Infidelity is not an issue to be toyed with. Breaking trust and scoffing in loyalty’s face are two issues many people will not tolerate. According to a survey conducted by MSN, “Cheating plays a significant role in divorce. It is the third most common reason cited in the survey, with 55% of respondents saying infidelity caused their split.”
If you can forgive your partner for straying, there’s no denying that both of you will work harder to fix things. This, in turn, will help your relationship become a stronger one. [Read: 8 things you need to do before forgiving a cheater]
#3 Job loss. When my partner was laid off, it felt like our whole world was crumbling down on us. My single salary wasn’t enough to maintain the lifestyle we lived, and we had to make plenty of hard choices… one of which was moving to a smaller place. The challenges that we faced during those trying months somehow worked out in our favor.
We now know that if we stick together and persevere, we can make it work–no matter what. Money may make the world go round, but it certainly wasn’t the main factor in our relationship. Not only did we learn about the importance of saving up for monsoon season *because saving for a rainy day just didn’t cut it*, we also learned that you can overcome anything if you have the right support and mentality in place. [Read: 7 things to do when your spouse is unemployed or lazy]
#4 Temporary separation. Some people look at this as a flailing step that couples take before divorce, but on the contrary, a separation may just mend the problems you’re facing. The goal of a separation is, of course, to give one another the time and space to sort things out.
Whether it’s rebuilding trust, focusing on yourself, or just taking time to figure out what you want, there’s no denying that choosing to undergo a temporary separation may work out great for you. This is because if you choose to get back together, you will appreciate how miserable you were apart and will realize you can overcome anything–if you want to.
Of course, you have to set some ground rules before committing to a separation. Examples include: no sleeping around, figuring out a timeframe, who gets the kids and when, and so on. These rules are determined by both of you, so think them through before implementing them. [Read: How taking a break in a relationship works]
#5 Infertility. Not all couples who deal with infertility make it out unscathed. Blame, pain, hurt, grief, and loss are common emotions felt during this journey, and not everyone can learn to become a cohesive couple again.
However, there are others that emerge stronger than ever. I know a wonderful couple who tried to have a baby for 8 years, to no avail. After numerous tests, hormonal therapies, and several attempts at IVF, they gave up and opted to be a child-free couple.
When I asked Allison how infertility affected her marriage, she said, “It has made us stronger than ever. I now know what a wonderful man I married, and I would not have been able to go through this pain without him. He’s my rock, and he singlehandedly lifted me up when I didn’t want to live anymore.”
#6 Joint assets. Some people may not look at having joint assets as a troubling issue, but there are many who do. More often than not, this seems like the logical financial step that many couples choose to take once they have established that they want to spend their lives together.
Joint tax returns and property tax deductions are a couple of examples. However, depending on how you want to look at it, sharing your assets may bring up more problems than benefits.
According to Investopedia, “Having both owners own the entire asset is a disadvantage in an unstable relationship.” It goes on to say, “If a couple is going through marital problems or two business partners are on the outs, neither party can sell or encumber the asset without the other party’s consent.”
You never know what the future holds. Your relationship may be rock solid, but you never know when bankruptcy, corrupt business practices, or even financial swindling may occur and pull the carpet out from under the two of you. As long as you’re prepared for that eventuality, having joint assets may strengthen your relationship rather than destroy it.
#7 Illness. If you and your partner can stick together through a troubling illness, there’s no doubt that your relationship will be stronger than ever. Whether it’s one of you or a loved one who falls sick, being faced with the possibility of losing someone you love is certainly a terrifying thing.
My aunt fought Stage III colon cancer, and after two surgeries and months of chemotherapy, she’s now proudly cancer-free. Six years on, she still looks back on her journey as one of the most harrowing things she has had to endure. Her partner was there from start to end, and both of them attest to the fact that their relationship is stronger than ever.
#8 Death. Whether you and partner endure a miscarriage or loss of a loved one, such as a child, parent, or friend, there’s no denying that dealing with death is heartbreakingly difficult. You need to give and receive as much support from one another as you can, and if you can emerge from the darkness hand-in-hand, there’s no doubt that you will be able to endure anything else that comes your way.
There are plenty of troubling things that couples go through to become stronger than before. From the smallest issue, such as not remembering to put the toilet seat down, to something major like dealing with a sickness, there’s no doubt these troubles will take a lot out of the two you. However, if you work things out together and offer the support necessary to get through a difficult time, your relationship will emerge stronger than ever. [Read: 10 biggest problems in a relationship and how to fix them]
While not all couples go through the misfortune of dealing with the issues above, you can be sure that whatever troubles come your way, as long as you work through it, you will inevitably be making your relationship better, and your bond deeper.
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