How can I support my partner during a time of crisis?
Some life crises will inevitably come throughout your time together as a partnership. Perhaps you’ve already been through a catastrophic or disruptive life event that has put you and your partner to the test.
Discuss how you individually respond, feel, and behave during a crisis with each other. Your emotions may change based on the sort of occurrence (for example, a job loss vs the death of a loved one). Consider the significant life events you could encounter together, talk about them, and attempt to predict how your spouse would react if they happen.
How may I assist you at this difficult time?
After you’ve spoken about previous and potential future significant life crises, ask your spouse what kind of assistance and compassion he or she may want from you.
What particular acts or attitudes would your spouse need from you if he or she lost a parent or lost a career, for example?
How can you be there for each other and obtain the emotional support you need as individuals if a life catastrophe is equally terrible to both of you (for example, you lose a cherished pet or your common company fails)? Talk about your support plan before you’re caught off guard by a catastrophe.
How can we prepare for the loss of a job or a financial crisis?
You’ve covered the practical aspects of financial emergency preparation in earlier questions. But how can you prepare emotionally if one of you loses a job or experiences a significant financial loss? These circumstances often result in challenges with confidence, self-esteem, fear, self-doubt, and motivation.
What are your probable reactions, both as the one who is most immediately impacted and as the supporting spouse, if such a crisis occurs? What will you need to do to make the landing softer and less stressful at these times? What kind of help from friends, family, or professionals do you think you’ll need?
How would you respond and handle if you were diagnosed with a life-threatening illness?
No one likes to think of a loved one developing a terrible disease or handicap. However, these circumstances can arise, and it’s important to know how your spouse will respond and what coping techniques he or she will apply. What level of caregiving is your spouse willing and capable of providing?
What does he or she think about being sick at home? Who would he turn to for emotional and/or physical assistance? Sharing your intentions for a living will and any other particular end-of-life requests is a vital aspect of this conversation.
What type of crisis may jeopardize our partnership, and how would we respond?
When faced with a crisis, our anxiety and anguish frequently lead us to lash out at those closest to us. We’re searching for someone to blame, and this is the most obvious candidate. Some major catastrophes are known to drive couples away (for example, the loss of a child), but if you identify this as a possibility and deal with your emotions of anger and sadness early on, you may preserve your relationship and, in some situations, strengthen it. Do you foresee any scenarios where your relationship may be jeopardized? Discuss these issues and how you would handle them.
What should we do to plan and prepare in the event that one or both of us pass away unexpectedly?
Do you know how to retrieve all of your partner’s vital information and papers if he or she died today? Are you aware of where all of your financial data is stored?
Do you have a will in place and have guardians appointed for your children? When tragedy strikes, the last thing you or a member of your family wants to do is look for directions, paperwork, or passwords. As unpleasant as it may be, you must discuss these preparations and when you intend to complete them.
How do you cope with the death of someone or something you care about?
Everyone grieves in their own way. Some of us publicly express our anguish and let tears flow freely, while others keep their pain to themselves and suffer in quiet. Loss does not necessarily imply the death of someone you love. We might lament the loss of our youth, the transition from one house to another, or the departure of our children. Understanding your partner’s grieving process and how he or she expresses his or her loss may help you be more sympathetic, supportive, and empathic.
What is your greatest fear in life? Why?
Most of us have one major phobia that causes a knot in our gut or low-level uneasiness. It might be cancer, the death of a child, or the failure of your company.
Find out what your spouse is most afraid of and why he or she is so concerned about this situation. It is possible to reduce anxiety and increase control by talking about our worries in a safe and caring atmosphere.
Is there anything more we can do to prepare for or protect ourselves against unforeseen crises?
Examine if you need to take any physical or emotional steps to prepare for or protect yourself against a life crisis or disaster. For example, maybe you live in a hazardous neighborhood and need to relocate.
Perhaps one of you is working in a job that is physically or financially hazardous, and you should consider changing employment. Your car’s tires may be worn out and you’ll need to replace them. In what ways are you putting yourself at risk for the catastrophe that you can avoid by acting now?
How can we develop a “growth attitude” in the face of a major life crisis?
A development mentality implies that you feel you can not only survive but also learn and grow from the catastrophe. After an appropriate amount of loss and anguish, growth-minded individuals know they have the inner resources to go through a crisis. It entails cultivating optimism and hope, allowing yourself to completely experience and express your emotions, and discovering a profound significance in your battle.
Do you use a development mentality when confronted with minor setbacks? How can you and your partner exercise optimism and strengthen your capacity to deal with whatever life throws at you?
Follow-up: Do you have any life issues you’d want to learn more about from your partner’s perspective? What particular efforts will you both take as a partnership to help each other in these life concerns? Make a list of them and decide how and when you will implement these modifications or activities.