We all face uncertain seasons from time to time. If you’re married, you have the added bonus of having a partner you can weather these storms with. Unfortunately, sometimes uncertainty and stress can divide us rather than bringing us together.
If you’re facing a difficult time right now, it’s important to find ways to come together rather than being torn apart. You can do this by exercising a combination of vulnerability, selflessness, patience, and empathy.
Let’s look at 10 tips to help you and your spouse weather an uncertain season together.
1. Be open about your struggles.
Uncertainty produces a myriad of difficult emotional and physical struggles. Stress can manifest as anxiety or physical pain, for example. However this uncertain season is affecting you, it’s important to be open with one another about what is happening.
Even during times of normalcy, open communication is essential to maintain a healthy marriage. If you’re dealing with uncertainty and stress, it’s even more important.
Being open will help the two of you minimize and offset potential conflicts that can arise from poor communication. It will also help you cultivate more empathy toward one another. The last thing you need during a crisis is a pile-on of avoidable problems.
2. Understand uncertain times produce unusual circumstances.
If this season of uncertainty has affected your normal routines and your ability to accomplish all your usual tasks, understand that sometimes, unusual circumstances arise from difficult seasons. Be kind to yourselves and one another if your usual rhythms are disrupted, and step up to help one another out where you can. Again, there’s no need to invite additional conflict when you are already dealing with a difficult time.
3. Be patient with one another.
An uncertain season requires an additional measure of patience. Stress and tension affect all of us differently, but they can cause us to sometimes act out of character. While self-control is paramount, there may be times when you’re short with one another–because nobody is perfect.
Be prepared to exercise extra patience with your spouse during this time. Additionally, don’t be afraid to gently let one another know when they need to take a breather. Though tension may affect us from time to time, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to mistreat one another.
4. Create new routines.
Let’s say you and your spouse are experiencing a season that has completely disrupted your usual routines. Now might be the time to consider creating new ones–even if they’re temporary. This can add a sense of stability to an unstable situation, and might help you both feel like you’re taking back at least some measure of control. The new parts of your routine could be comprised of big or small things–anything from a completely new work schedule to daily habits like writing in a journal.
5. Check on your loved ones.
During difficult times, it can be too easy to get stuck in your own head while you’re dealing with how the season has impacted your world. Make it a point to step outside your own home–literally or metaphorically–and check on the people you love. Here are a few simple ways you can do that:
- Call your elderly relatives
- Video chat with friends
- Help your kids write a letter to their grandparents (or write one yourself)
- Send an email to colleagues to check-in
However you decide to reach out, connecting with your loved ones could help you redirect your focus to others for a while.
6. Help where you can.
Reaching out to help others in need during a difficult time is another way to get outside of yourselves. Serving others not only gives us the chance to bless people who need it; it also helps us to take stock of our own blessings. Cultivating gratitude during difficult times isn’t easy, but it’s a great way to keep things in perspective.
7. Keep anxiety and fear in check.
Fear and anxiety can take over during an uncertain season. It’s critical to acknowledge what you’re feeling, but it’s even more important to keep these emotions in check. When you let fear take over, it can quickly spiral out of control, causing more problems in addition to the initial issue.
There are many ways to take control of the anxiety you’re feeling. Some helpful practices include prayer, meditation, journaling, breathing techniques, and exercise. If you aren’t able to control your anxiety through these (or similar) means, you may need to talk with a licensed mental health professional.
8. Nurture one another.
Be extra nurturing to one another during this difficult time. Seek to comfort one another–especially preemptively. Show each other love and do things that fill each other’s cups. This will look different for every couple since each of us have unique needs.
Try to anticipate your spouse’s needs and fill them where you can. This is a time to pay special attention to one another’s love languages. Go over the top in showing love and care for one another. After this season is over, that love won’t be forgotten–and it will set you up for good habits in the future.
9. Make time for fun.
Intentionally having fun during an uncertain season seems counterintuitive, but you need to exercise all possible ways of thriving in spite of challenges. Making time for fun will give you a positive place to put your focus and energy.
There are many ways to have fun together. Whether you’re enjoying shared activities, playing board games, or even just watching your favorite movies after work, make time for recreation.
10. Seek help if you need it.
If either (or both) of you finds that you need support for your mental or physical health during this time, don’t hesitate to seek it out. There’s no shame in getting help if the stress of a difficult season is starting to get to you. The key is to seek help as early as possible. Doing so will increase your chances of a full recovery.
One last thing…
Any time is a good time to get to know one another better, but it’s especially important during a difficult time. Our Better Love Assessment is a quick, easy way to get deeper insights on yourself and your spouse than ever before. Click here to get started!
How do you and your spouse face uncertain seasons together? Let us know in the comments section!