A few weeks back, I wrote to you about how to have spirituality in your marriage and bring God into the center of the relationship. I also shared that loving your partner and being willing to have a long-lasting marriage, is a decision.
Just because you have made this decision, it does not mean that your marriage will be easy. You will still face challenges and difficult situations that will test your strength, core and unity. These challenges will come in different shapes and forms and from different angles. For example there could be sickness, loss of jobs, loss of a loved one, infidelity, anger, fights, a problem with kids or with any family member, a lack of money, or even be an external event such as the recent situation we all have been experiencing with COVID-19. The key in facing a challenge is what we do as a couple to analyze, understand and get out of the situation together, with hopefully a positive experience and the opportunity to grow.
Let’s analyze the recent situation of COVID-19 where we experienced the unknown and many of us were forced to change our habits by staying at home together for a long period of time. Many of us were not prepared for a situation like this and many of us suffered significant stress in our relationships because of it.
- The quarantine represented a change of habits to almost all of us. Change is normally not easy since it forces us to adapt to new circumstances and take on new roles. During the pandemic we have been working from home, teaching the kids, stopping travel, sharing the home workload and responsibilities, and changing our way of life which has impacted our stability as a couple.
- Any change can lead to stress. If we do not manage this stress well, it could significantly impact our relationship. Why do we become stressed? Because of uncertainty and the potential impact on our stability. For example, in the pandemic we didn’t know how bad the virus was and how would we react if we were to get it, if we could lose our job, if our finances would be impacted, how long we would stay at home, and many other unknowns which caused us to feel worried, generated significant stress, and potentially impacted our relationship.
- During the pandemic, we all lost something and such loss generated issues and stress. We lost our freedom and probably our time alone. Coping appropriately with loss is very important as we continue to build the relationship.
How do we face change, stress and loss? Together as a single body. At times we forget that when we are in a relationship, we are two and we always need to consider the perspective and the opinion of our partner. We both have different views and opinions and both should count. Men and women are different and they express themselves differently. They each have their own families and backgrounds, so they are bound to have their own way of approaching and facing challenges. We need to consider the perspective, opinions, and expectations of our spouse while we are trying to resolve difficult issues and manage stressful situations. To be successful we need a balanced and a joint perspective.
When you face challenges, both spouses will experience feelings and strong emotions of their own. These feelings are neither good nor bad; it is what we do with these feelings that really matters. That’s why communication and dialogue become a couple’s most important tool. Though communication could be both simple and difficult, it is key in finding solutions and growing from difficult situations.
My wife, Martha, and I have been married for 26 years and have a good and solid relationship. Still, experiencing the quarantine has not been easy and we have had to continually adapt to a new norm. We needed to do changes that were not easy for both and it took time and dialogue to adjust and accept.
I invite you to always see challenges as an opportunity for growth. Let’s not forget that God will always be on our side to help resolve the difficult situations. God allows us to face challenges for a reason: to make us better and stronger.
We will all face challenges in our relationships; however: challenges should not be what define us, but how we deal with the challenges should be what defines us.
Genaro Poulat was born into a Catholic family in Mexico City where he lived for the early part of his life. He lives now in Key Biscayne, Florida with his wife Martha, to whom he has been married for 26 years. He has been blessed and fortunate to have 4 kids: Genaro, Daniela, Bernardo and Andres. Over the past 26 years he has lived in Edinburgh, Mexico, New York, Panama and Florida.
Genaro is an International Banker and he has worked in the sector for 28 years. Over the past five years, together with his wife Martha, he has been dedicated to supporting married couples and helping them to get closer to God. Genaro is an active volunteer in his Church and supports many ministries.