Surviving Stressful Situations Together

Even positive life changes are stressful - and that stress can sometimes permeate your relationship. For instance, going back to graduate school or having a baby can greatly increase the energy, time and money you spend. Many unexpected or not-so-positive life events also can increase the stress that comes between you and your sweetheart.

If you encounter these super-stressful situations, consider how you and your sweetie might pull together to get through them.

Financial Setbacks
If you or your girl becomes unemployed, it can put a great deal of financial pressure on your relationship. When you're used to relying on two incomes, surviving on one requires sharing, sacrifice and understanding. Try to take a humorous approach - like making pancakes for dinner and acting like it's a gourmet meal. If things get worse and you have to move in with family, that could bring all kinds of relationship-testing tension. Keeping a sense of humor becomes even more important - like when you have to sneak off to the bedroom because you "have a headache" and have some quiet naptime together. Be creative and focus on the opportunities rather than the sacrifices, and you'll keep your bond stronger.

Health Problems
When one partner is dealing with a major health issue, both partners are dealing with it. Perhaps it's a broken bone that keeps you from driving or exercising. Or maybe it's surgery that requires bed rest during your recovery. You might even face a more challenging situation - when one of you develops a long-term illness that requires permanent lifestyle adjustments. With these types of challenges, you'll really find out how much you can count on your partner. Again, laughter can be the best medicine for these types of relationship hurdles. Maybe you could try reading naughty books to each other. Or perhaps if she's willing to do some role-playing in costume to keep things interesting. If you can rely on your sweetie emotionally, then the physical recovery will be much easier.

Family Issues
Other daunting challenges come when family members need your help. Maybe your parents announce that they're getting divorced. Maybe one of her family members dies and you've got to help her deal with this huge loss. Or maybe one of your parents can't live alone anymore and has to move in with you. These are huge stresses on a relationship, not to mention on each of you individually. Once again, try to handle these situations without taking yourself too seriously and without taking your frustrations out on each other. Maybe you could challenge each other to suggest new activities that will keep you distracted.

No matter how difficult these situations are for you personally, they'll be equally difficult for you two as a couple. But keep things in perspective. Dealing with unexpected crises can make your relationship stronger. Ideally, you'll learn that you can count on her to support you when you need it. You can get a clear vision of how you work together as a team when life throws you curve balls.

As you cope, don't forget the stress relief that physical touch can provide - whether it's a foot massage or the sexier kind. Let her know that no matter what happens, she's your comfort zone. With patience and caring, you can continue to find your happy place in each other's arms.

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