It’s where no couple wants to find themselves – in the hospital with one counterpart of the relationship suffering from a permanent disabling injury. This kind of thing can happen to any couple too. You just never know when you’re luck will run out.
When your luck does run out and you suddenly find yourself in a vastly different relationship, with the person you fell in love with changed forever, how do you make it work? Giving up and going your separate ways isn’t always what needs to happen even though the statistics aren’t in your favor, with 80% of marriages don’t last after a disabling injury.
You can make it work, and the tips below will definitely help make that happen.
1) Prevent One Person From Taking On Too Many Responsibilities
When a counterpart of relationships offers a disabling injury, it’s all too common for the able-bodied counterpart to want to help out as much as they can, but inadvertently take on too many responsibilities and eventually burn themselves out. This happens all the time in relationships post-injury.
While it’s great the able-bodied counterpart wants to help out, if they get burnt out helping you and taking on too many responsibilities, the relationship will most likely not work. Balance is critical when it comes responsibilities, even after an injury. Also along the same vein, be understanding of one another’s new responsibilities too. Patience is key.
2) Just Say No to Significant Other Caregivers
If it’s at all possible, avoid allowing your significant other to become your regular caregiver. This too will lead to burnout and intimacy issues down the line. While it may seem great on paper – you don’t have any strangers coming into your home and it allows you a more flexible schedule – when a spouse becomes a caregiver the entire relationship changes for the worst.
3) Remember to Say Please and Thank You
With stress levels higher than usual after disabling injury, it’s always a good idea to mind your P’s and Q’s when interacting with one another, and years down the line too. Having manners is always a good rule of thumb in a relationship of course, but it’s even more important when there is a new disability deal with. Extra frustrations and stress always come with the package.
4) Schedule Breaks from New Responsibilities
Since one counterpart of the relationship will more than likely be taking on more responsibilities than the other than the one with the newly acquired disability, it’s critical that you make sure they take a break from their new responsibilities. We all need a break from stressful work, and this includes house chores and everything else. By making sure they take a break, resentment will hopefully never come to the surface.
5) Look Into Each Others Eyes Often (with Love)
Keeping the romance alive is another huge element of keeping a relationship above water and helping it thrive. While romantic movies and dinners are great, little things can be just as effective. One of my favorites is simply looking into one another’s eyes and saying you love one another. This simple gesture can connect both of you sold-to-soul, helping you remember why you fell in love in the first place.
6) Do Nice and Say Nice Things
A relationship takes work, and one of the best ways to make a huge dent towards making it work is to simply do and say nice things to one another. This can make our happiness levels go from 3 to 7, or even higher, in an instant. It’s magical how a thoughtful small gift, a compliment or just something nice to say can make everything seem and feel better in a relationship. If you’re not doing this daily, try to do it at least several times a week at least.
7) Remember to Laugh
Humor is better than any anti-depressant. If you can’t laugh at the situations you now find yourselves in as a couple, then there’s no hope for you. Laughing releases all the frustrations inside of you without you even realizing it, helping you as a couple move onto a more hopeful mindset believing that you indeed can do this and make your relationship work.
8) Tackle Issues as a Team
Many couples, whether they have a disability or not, frequently talk about how successful it is to look at their relationship with a team-like mentality. When you tackle issues, problems, injuries and health scares as a team, you’re more likely to succeed and are less likely to resent one another in the process.
9) Don’t Overreact to the Little Stuff
And last but certainly not least is remembering to not overreact over the little stuff now that you have so many big things on your plate as a couple. No longer should you try to keep up with the joneses or get stressed out over getting the lawn cut on time. None of that is important anyways, and having a disability present can ironically make it easier to realize this.
Remember, at the end of the day it’s all about love, patience and honesty between one another. If you can stay true to these three core aspects, your relationship has it’s best chance of surviving.