You may think I’ll bring up the marriage debates, but in my opinion it’s not related to the greatest challenges facing a successful marriage and successful interactions between the couples that are married. The challenges I want to talk about here are the challenges that can leave your relationship precarious and potentially lead to the dissolution of your marriage if you and your spouse aren’t equipped to handle the challenges.
I like to call these challenges the final five, because when you and your spouse are capable of overcoming these challenges, then you are usually in a stronger place in your marriage. So what would I list as these final five?
- The care for an aging parent
- Weight gain – with or without childbirth
- Depression and depressive behavior
- Major illness or long-term illness
- Economic hardship and job loss
In and of themselves, these are challenges related to living and to existing. When you are married, these challenges can really make your relationship stronger – you just need to find a way to cope with them and support each other through them without overwhelming or injuring the other. Sounds like a tall order, right? Of course it is, but that’s the idea behind marriage – joining your life and overcoming challenges.
We’ve talked about caring for an aging parent and how that demand, both physical and emotional can really overwhelm both of you. The drain can be profound and it can create relationship where the harmony is threatened between you. You have to remember that when an aging parent is living with you or you are looking after them, it’s not about choosing between your relationship with your spouse and your relationship with the parent.
Weight gain is hard on any marriage because it can be hard on your individual self-image. Weight gain can also provide a challenge to your health and your self-confidence. The reverse, weight loss after weight gain, can also affect your relationship by challenging your spouse in a manner that makes them doubt themselves.
Depression is an illness that often requires outside intervention and care as well. When we’re depressed, we don’t care about much of anything. We may not care about our appearance, our financial situations, and more. If you suspect depression or if depression is an issue, it’s a problem that may need outside help. You can check our mental health blog for more information on this topic.
Finally, the strain of financial hardship brought on by job loss or by a physical illness can leave one or both spouses feeling like you are drowning. When these challenges occur, it’s paramount that you and your spouse maintain your intimacy and stay open to what is going on. You’ll need support on both sides because the best way to overcome all of these challenges is togetherness.
Have you or your spouse confronted any of these five challenges?