How Surviving a Crisis Together Can Make a Relationship Stronger
There are many things that can make a relationship stronger but going through a crisis is one of those things that can absolutely make your relationship bulletproof.
Here we are, in the middle of a global crisis on so many levels. Between Covid, the election, the riots and the forest fires, our world feels like it’s running out of control and there is no turning back. And that is petrifying.
While we can’t control what is happening in the world (mostly), what we can control is our relationship and how we navigate this craziness together. Doing so successfully will only make a relationship stronger, one that can get through anything and move forward in an even more loving way.
Here are 5 ways that surviving a crisis together can make a relationship stronger.
#1 – You will come together.
You know the last time you went through a crisis and you had to go through it alone? Wasn’t it a lonely struggle, one that was exhausting at times.
Are you now facing the current crisis with a partner at your side? Do you feel stronger and more able to take on anything because you know that there is someone who has your back unconditionally?
This tendency to unite in the face of a crisis is what can make a relationship stronger and, for many couples, this crisis has drawn them together in ways that no one really expected.
I have a client who was happily enough married. They were going about their daily lives, busy, hoping to have a baby, juggling work and friends and family. When Covid hit, their lives changed completely. They started working from home and their social lives dried up. It was just the two of them, in their apartment, facing this new world together.
My client says that getting through this anxiety filled time has made their marriage so much stronger. And having each other’s support at the beginning, when there were so many unknowns, was something they both recognize they couldn’t have done without.
#2 – You will support each other in small ways.
For many of us modern folk, we work really hard to be self-reliant. We want to believe that we don’t need anyone or anything, that we can handle whatever comes our way on our own.
A crisis like the one we are going through now has shifted that. There are so many things to manage, many of them in our own homes, that we didn’t have to manage before. There is working from home, homeschooling kids, cooking instead of eating out, keeping the house clean enough in spite of all of the people in residence and much more.
What I have discovered is that people are, like never before, supporting each other in small ways.
Before Covid, I had a daily list of what I needed to get done. I work from home so I often just worked my chores into my day. Most days, I couldn’t get it all done because there was just too much. My boyfriend can never help because he would work all day and come home tired.
Now, with my boyfriend home, I find that he steps up to support me in small ways. He empties the cat box, he vacuums out my car, he stacked some wood and raked the leaves. All things that were, in normal times, totally my responsibility.
I know that having him there to support me in small ways, to do a few things to take them off my shoulders, has made me feel much closer to him. I truly appreciate what he does and it makes me want to do things for him in return.
#3 – You will touch more.
One of things that happens, whether we like it or not, is that when we are in someone’s physical presence we just touch more.
Whether it’s touching in the close quarters of the kitchen, sitting side by side on the couch catching up on emails, staying in bed just a little bit longer because of the lack of commute, physical touch has increased a thousandfold in many relationships.
And we know that there is nothing that can make a relationship stronger than loving physical touch.
#4 – You will have empathy.
My boyfriend is super sensitive to any little thing that is wrong with his body. If he has a headache or a back ache or a scratchy throat, he dramatically takes to the couch to convalesce. It drives me absolutely bonkers because I ignore any aches or pains in my body and just push through. I got 20 wasp stings on my body after stepping on a wasp’s nest and I took a shower and then made dinner, pushing the (incredible) pain away because dinner had to be made.
During the time of Covid, I have become more empathetic to my boyfriend’s sensitivities. He is very worried about contracting Covid so, when he starts to complain about being tired or run down, instead of rolling my eyes and walking away, I acknowledge how he feels and bring him a cup of tea on the couch.
In turn, he has true empathy for the fact that I, who am ALWAYS on the road, am stuck at home and how challenging it has been for me to share a house with 3 grown men, 24/7. I am writing this article from my mother’s home in Virginia because my boyfriend understands and supports my need to be alone.
Our mutual empathy for what we both are struggling during this crisis with has definitely drawn us closer.
#5 – You will share success.
I know that the Covid crisis is far from over. The second wave is hitting us and many more people are getting sick and dying. We have been spared in our little corner of the woods but we still know pepole who have been sickened and our lives are still affected by it every single day.
What I do know is that, when the crisis is over and life gets somewhat back to normal, my boyfriend and I will sit on our porch, drinking a gin and tonic, damn proud of the work that we did to get through it. He has worked hard for the city he manages, making sure that people are taken care of and safe. I have supported people with my life coaching. We have worked together to keep our family strong, our finances on track, our mental health steady enough and our connection to each other intact.
It hasn’t been easy, and it’s not over yet, but I know that for us, and for all of you, getting through this and out the other side is going to be something that will keep our relationship strong.
It’s interesting how surviving a crisis together can keep a relationship strong.
Think about any disaster movie you have ever seen. Often times, the hero and the heroine are estranged lovers. Their lives have been complicated and they have separated. And then the earthquake/tidal wave/alien creature hits and they are drawn together to overcome the odds and save the world. And, as a result, the final scene of the movie is them, covered with blood and dirt, sharing a passionate reunion kiss.
Much like in the movies, this crisis will keep your relationship strong. You will find you come together, you support each other in small ways, you will touch more, you will have empathy for each other and you will celebrate success when it’s all done.
If there is a silver lining to this crisis it’s that it will make a relationship stronger for many people who might have been struggling and keep a relationship strong for those who were steady already.
How great is that?
I am a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. My writing has been published on The Huffington Post, Prevention, Psych Central, Pop Sugar, MSN and The Good Man Project, among others. I work with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.