Couple in survival mode

Can Your Relationship Survive the “Survival Mode”?

How do you know if your relationship can survive the “survival mode”?  The mode where your rose colored glasses fall off and you find yourself stumbling through the chaos of unmet expectations, financial distress, debt, toddlerhood, job issues, miscommunication, differences in parenting styles, constant encounters with the Murphy law, and dwindling sex life…to name a few.

In the beginning there was you and your best friend, your soulmate.  Your differences made life interesting and refreshing, your hunger for each other kept the flame glowing. 

Fast forward five…ten years. The interesting, exciting differences somehow silently crept up between you and magnified into a recurring storm that keeps threatening the spark of your flame, and your shared values and goals…well, maybe not so shared, after all.  In the beginning, it’s easy to generalize your individual likes and dislikes into one big “we like the same things” category.  Once the daily challenges of life set in, those commonalities begin to test your commitment. 

Have your values and life goals truly shifted away from each other, or are you filling in the blanks with more details realizing that your differences are deeper than you realized?

The three main things that threaten the strength of any marriage or relationship are parenting, financial stress, and intimacy issues.  All three are deeply intertwined, and if one area becomes neglected the others are at risk of following.

Parenting: It’s not just about ‘how’ to raise your child, but ‘how together.’ Differences in parenting styles can lead to disagreements and resentment. It’s important to find a middle ground where both of you feel heard and respected. Communication is key! Set aside time (regularly!) to discuss and agree upon basic parenting principles and approaches.  This won’t be a one-and-done decision, but rather an ongoing conversation.  As the kids grow up, you may find yourself shifting your approach. Remember, it’s less about ‘winning’ an argument and more about forming a united front for the well-being of your kids. 

Schedule regular ‘parenting check-ins’ to discuss your child’s needs and your parenting strategies. Attend parenting classes together or read parenting books to find common ground. Most importantly, stay supportive of each other and learn together.

Financial Stress: Money talks are tough! But they’re crucial. Financial stress is often cited as a primary reason for relationship strain, so it’s essential to have open and honest conversations about finances. Create a budget together, discuss your financial goals, and make plans for the future. It’s not about how much you earn, but how well you manage it as a team. 

If you find yourself financially overwhelmed, first make sure you and your partner are on the same page understanding the current situation. Be transparent about your spending and savings. If necessary, consult a financial advisor to help align your financial goals and strategies. Then come up with a plan of action to improve your circumstances.  Take it one day at a time, and set achievable goals you can reach together.

Intimacy Issues: Over time, the initial spark can wane, and intimacy can become another chore on the list. With life happening at supersonic speeds, waning intimacy can happen to the closest of couples.  The key is to keep the lines of communication open. Be honest about your needs and listen to your partner’s. Small gestures of affection and regular date nights can be extremely helpful to keep you connected.  Even seeking professional help can reignite the lost spark.  And reaching out to a relationship coach can strengthen your relationship and rebuilt that foundation that you’ve built. Keep the romance alive!

It’s quite normal for relationships to face challenges, it’s how you navigate these challenges that determines the strength and longevity of your bond. Parenting, financial stress, and intimacy issues, if neglected, can create rifts. But with open communication, mutual respect, and a willingness to adapt and grow together, these hurdles can be transformed into opportunities for deeper connection and understanding. Remember, the goal is not to go back to how things were in the beginning, but to evolve together into something stronger and more enduring.

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