Surviving hard times in marriage and navigating your way out of the darkness actually brings you closer together in many ways. The problems can be internal- infidelity, medical crisis, or a falling out, or can be external, such as issues with in-laws or loss of a loved one. A marriage doesn’t just involve your partner and you. In fact, it symbolizes the coming together of families. So, when marriage gets tough, it’s hard on everyone who is part of your life.
It’s important to work together as teammates rather than rivals on opposing teams. There are always ways you can bring back the stability in your relationship. You just have to identify the issue, formulate a plan, and implement it using logic and rationale rather than letting your emotions get the best of you.
Dealing With Hard Times In Marriage
Take one day at a time. The hard times in marriage will come and go, but what’s important is that you stand together and brave the storm. There is no darkness that lasts forever, and just like the bad times, the good times will come too. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Don’t get us wrong. Surviving a bad marriage does take its toll on the relationship, but there’s no such thing as a perfect couple. Life will keep throwing curveballs at you, but what counts is how you choose the face the challenge. Here’s a little tip: choose to do it together. Marriage counseling can go a long way in helping you fix things and save a relationship.
First, it was the cancer
As my father-in-law, an old cancer patient in remission succumbed to secondaries within six months of my wedding, my status changed overnight. I went from the ‘most wonderfully caring daughter-in-law’, to ‘the bad luck charm who ate her father-in-law’.
As the months went by and emotional abuse ran rampant in the family, my husband, the most loving and supportive of partners, was caught in a dilemma. As his mother’s only son, he was unable to, in the face of her bereavement, express his support for his wife. But he was torn by guilt at the way his wife was being treated.
Related Reading: Living with criticism from the in-laws
We began to drift apart
Seeking solace in work, he isolated himself from everyone, coming home only to sleep, and I found myself floundering in a sea of hostility, with my one anchor out of reach. The inevitable result: mood swings and anger issues, rapidly escalating into obsessive behavior and depression.
Those were times when even owning up to mental issues carried social stigma; seeking professional help was out of the question. How I coped with her spouse’s mental illness and how I managed be do it all alone perhaps just proved my strength and willpower.
And so, an army of demons invaded our lives—hypertension and diabetes for him; hypothyroidism and rheumatic arthritis for me, all before we turned 30. And, of course, infertility—further proof of my unsuitability to ‘their family’!
I resorted to praying
Walking out on the marriage was unthinkable. If I chose to turn away from all the difficult times in marriage, what kind of a person would I be? I was not raised to be a quitter. Besides, every time I felt like giving up, memories of the beautiful times we had shared would resurface.
And, in spite of the hell our life was turning into, I could not help but love and respect him for his integrity. He refused, on one hand, to give in to the family’s mind games enough to rupture our marriage, and, on the other, to take the easy way out, abandoning family obligations for an overseas posting.
For my part, I was increasingly driven to prayer, chanting continuously to keep myself focused and sane. And the prayers were answered—in the form of feature assignments for the newspaper where I was officially assigned to the Finance section—interviews with psychologists and lifestyle counselors. This put me in touch with people whom I could approach for help and guidance.
And then, a lucky bout of spring cleaning brought to light my grandma’s rare old books about natural, herbal cures for all ailments, including some for exhausted, embattled psyches.
Related Reading: 10 Family Values That Help You Forever In Life
Some hope, and then none
After three years and a miscarriage, our child brought a fresh surge of hope into our lives and I shifted to freelance work from home. A few years later, we were even able to take a limited period posting to the UK, as some family members needed temporary accommodations and came to live in the house. That was a halcyon year indeed.
However, soon after we returned, my mother—my pillar of strength through all my trials—passed away and I found myself sinking into depression. Now it was his turn to heal me with his love and support, despite the family situation, which, if anything, had worsened over time.
So, we pulled each other through, the family drama continued, and, with it, our ever-mounting list of stress-related diseases. The tough times in marriage seemed to be endless, and, at this point, I felt nothing but an impending sense of dread and helplessness.
Our daughter became our priority
And then, a few years ago, our adolescent daughter started showing signs of reclusiveness and low self-esteem, an inevitable outcome of the beleaguered family environment. This finally encouraged us to think of surviving hard times together. We did what we hadn’t been able to do so far: ignore destructive family influences and create a protective shield of positivity for her.
Despite our enduring love, we had been living in a state of siege, where a visit to the cinema hall, a restaurant, and even to relatives or friends ‘where everyone was not invited’ was a matter of contention and ugly scenes. Vacations, where it was just the three of us, felt like homecoming. A simple birthday celebration had to be camouflaged as a visit to the child’s school. But surviving marriage was our priority, and we did what we had to.
Now, all that is a thing of the past. Our love and concern for our child gave us the impetus to stop paying attention to unreasonable expectations and drama and encouraged us to enjoy ourselves openly like normal families. Our daughter has responded to the changed energies, blossoming into a joyful young lady. It even gave us a second chance at marriage, and we have never been happier.
However, we are not without the hard times in marriage, but our focus has shifted from being victimized to becoming solution-oriented people. Marriage isn’t easy, but it’s all about perspective. Nothing is more important than being there for your family and fighting to make your relationship work. Giving up is too easy.
When there’s a family crisis, the marriage suffers an inevitable strain. There’s no definite year, but no marriage is without its own set of challenges.
Yes! In fact, it’s abnormal for marriages to be easy. Once you’re a family, your problems become his and vice versa.