Two in the boat, not counting the crisis
From ancient Greek “crisis” is translated as “decision, turning point, turning point, time of transition”. Crises lead us up a spiral, to development and depth in relationships. When a couple goes through a crisis, it has three ways: to pass it and reach a new level, to remain the same or to destroy the relationship.
The crisis is normal and natural. Relations cannot improve without a crisis. The couple that went through all the changes hand in hand is getting stronger. But how to understand who will cope with the crisis and who will not? We will tell you what critical stages you will have to go through, and what resources will help you survive the storm.
V. Satir, a family psychotherapist, outlined ten “dangerous” stages in the life of the family.
The child begins to speak;
The child begins to communicate with people outside the family;
The child becomes a teenager;
The child grows up and begins to live separately from his parents;
Son or daughter form their family;
A woman begins menopause;
A man’s sexual activity decreases;
In addition to the difficulties that are associated with a natural life cycle, the family can experience abnormal crises.
An abnormal crisis occurs at any stage of life and is associated with the experience of negative events. Factors that lead to such crises:
Constant stress and external difficulties. For example, constant moving, problems with conceiving a child.
The sudden stress of emotion. For example, theft, loss of a job.
A threatening, conflict or stressful event that the family cannot adequately assess and experience. For example, the disease of the spouse, quarrels with relatives.
Crises at different stages of the couple’s relationship
According to American psychologists E. Bader and P. Pearson, relations in any pair pass through successive stages, which lead eventually to the rapprochement of partners.
1. Merger. Partners are United in one and do not feel differences. They think they look at the world the same way. The crisis begins when one partner begins to separate, wants to live his life more.
2. Differentiation. Each marks and highlights its individuality, so testing the relationship for strength. Partners discover differences in tastes and views. The crisis comes when everyone is not ready to accept the position of the other, his experience and feelings.
3. Research. In pairs explore the opportunity to be apart: apart spend their holidays, often with his friends… and can change each other. The crisis is dangerous because the “walk” can be delayed and partners will not return to the family.
4. Rapprochement. Two appreciate each other, know the pros and cons of partner, trust, put clear goals. Mature people are getting closer. The crisis can begin if the partners do not want to change their lives for the sake of the couple.
How to respond to the crisis
All three types of crisis can occur separately, and can be “superimposed” on each other, aggravating the situation. For example, at the birth of a child (normative crisis), the husband loses his job (non-normative crisis) and during the same period the couple is at the peak of living in the stage of hostile-dependent relations (differentiation).
It is worth remembering that the crisis is normal. It is not normal how partners sometimes behave in a crisis situation. Let’s give some advice to those who are in transition right now.
1. Become a team.
Do not take both the wheel of your boat, but at the same time do not throw it. The team needs to work with the rapid response and adequately assign the roles. The crisis is not the time for competition.
2. Rely on your “crisis” experience.
Remember that you have already gone through difficult periods and stress together – lack of money, the child’s disease… Use this experience, because you already know where you “pick up” partner, and where he needs help.
3. Evaluate the nature and strength of stress.
If there are several crises, few will survive them. Measure your strength and do not load your partner and yourself with unnecessary stress. Do not start a mistress or do not change without much need to work when a child is born in the family, but rather throw all your strength to overcome the current problems of the family.
4. Using your personal power.
Personal power is intelligence, emotional stability, maturity, strong-willed qualities, communication abilities. Try to cope with fear and find support, resources, contact with people outside the family.
5. Ask for social support.
If you have a rear – a good relationship with relatives who can help, with children who can support at any age, with colleagues and your psychologist – contact them. Use all resources, including material, housing, work experience and education.
6. Talk to each other.
One important conversation can lead you out of the crisis, and unspoken little things – lead to daily carping at each other. A productive dialogue or even a constructive conflict is often an opportunity to find a way out.
Don’t despair! The crisis is a time for new experiences and opportunities to see new perspectives in the life of your couple.