My work with couples continually surprises me. What makes some couples so resilient that they can go through life’s ups and downs and continue loving one another, and other couples fall apart when times get shaky? Of course the couple’s family has an impact, as does their ability to take others’ points of view and not give up on their relationship. Resilient couples commit to the marriage or relationship more than they do to one another as well, which helps keep their focus on the relationship instead of blaming their partner when bad things happen. Marital research is beginning to define more clearly aspects of resilient couples. Below are five behaviors that keep resilient couples resilient to the storms in life.
- They have an innate sense of transitions being more likely to cause conflict. This means they develop a sense of connection instead of fighting during higher stress times such as leaving for work, coming home, bath time, homework time, or traveling time.
- They celebrate each others’ accomplishments and have fun together. This builds support and feeling valued within the relationship.
- Re-frame tough times to ease their effects. Resilient couples look at things with perspective. They compare what could have happened and reinforce gratitude with the good that comes with the rough situations.
- They share hope and encourage each other allowing each of them to be strong when the other is weak. Resilient couples are there for each other and they don’t criticize or blame.
- They practice empathy, meaning they totally “get” how their partner may feel, and support their feelings rather than labeling them as ridiculous or wrong.
Resilient relationships require maturity. They also require thinking of someone besides yourself and wanting the relationship more than you want your own way.