1.Talk openly about your feelings and emotions.
In times of stress, the tendency is to keep everything bottled up inside or to explode at the slightest disagreement. However, this approach will not work if you want your marriage to survive and thrive. In successful marriages couples talk about everything. Steps to take:
Share with your spouse insights about everything — the good, the bad and the ugly.
Make a conscious effort to hear what your spouse is really saying with an attitude of acceptance.
Become each other's best friends with unconditional support, total trust and complete honesty.
2. Approach all financial challenges with teamwork and open communication.
Balancing the family budget requires teamwork, especially when introducing children into your marriage, dealing with unusual financial burdens, or losing a job comes your way. People in love support each other through thick and thin; if you don’t work together to address head-on the economic challenges and stresses on your marriage, there is little hope of success. Some steps you can take:
Always talk about your finances; don't let a debt or an unpaid bill slip by unnoticed.
Work together to determine your common financial goals and budget.
Never make a major purchase without talking it over with your spouse and sleeping on it.
3. Don't blame each other when things get tough.
The blame game doesn't work in love and marriage and it is destructive. There is a natural tendency in tough times to blame the one you love for your collective misfortune and stress, but people in love don't blame, castigate or chastise each other in challenging times. Some steps you can take:
No matter how you feel, always treat your spouse with respect and love.
The truth is, there usually is no one person to blame. Figure out how you contributed to the problem and what you can do differently in the future.
Give your spouse's opinion serious consideration as you work together to discover solutions to your problems.
4. Don’t wallow in self-pity.
No problem has ever been solved by feeling sorry for yourself or your situation. Successful couples grab "the bull by the horns" and work for solutions. Making a family work is clearly difficult even in the best of times and even more challenging when you have many stressors to deal with. Some steps you can take:
Sit down with your spouse to figure out possible solutions to your problem and determine a plan that both of you can support. Celebrate your successes as you accomplish each step of the plan. Feeling like you are moving in a positive direction helps eliminate self-pity.
5. Make an effort to keep the flame of your love affair alive everyday.
What type of priority do you place on making time for fun and romance with each other in your hectic lives? Doing so can help you overcome the challenges by reminding you of why you fell in love in the first place. Some steps you can take:
Make a point of touching your spouse in a loving way at least ten times a day.
Carve out time to have a romantic date with each other: bring home flowers, get a hotel room, go for a long walk together, drink a bottle of wine watching the sunset, write a love note or even just snuggle in bed a little longer in the morning.
Plan a vacation (or even just a stay-cation). Nothing helps people reconnect better than a little time away from the daily grind.
6.Allow each other occasional time for privacy and aloneness.
One of the keys to a successful marriage is when both partners allow each other to have privacy and aloneness. We live such hectic lives at work and at home that the time to be alone with our own thoughts is paramount to our ability to engage in any meaningful communication with each other.
The quality of communication can only be enhanced between the two of you after refreshing your mind and spirit with alone time. You have to belong to yourself before you can belong to others. Some steps you can take:
The amount of time available to satisfy these two needs varies from one marriage to another and from one marriage partner to another, and can increase during times of stress. Talk with your spouse about each of your needs and desires for privacy and alone time. Work together to determine a plan that you both will honor to allow each other occasional time for privacy and aloneness.
7. Stay healthy and happy, both physically and mentally.
It is nearly impossible to take care of others when you don't take of yourself. Some steps you can take:
Live healthier: take your vitamins and medications, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, cut down the use of alcohol and nicotine.
Engage in a daily exercise program with your spouse.
Don't forget your annual physical exams.
Dealing with the many stressors in your marriage and in life can be a real challenge. Dealing with them effectively could not only save your marriage, but also save your life.