No matter how long you’ve been married, eventually, you will face adversity and trials. Whether it’s coping with the loss of a loved one, natural disaster, or infidelity, every relationship will have difficult times. Yet, adversity doesn’t have to be the end of our marriages.

Instead, it can open the door for the start of something new and create a renewed sense of love and appreciation for the other person. So much so, psychologists describe a phenomenon known as PTG (Post-Traumatic-Growth). According to Forbes, those who experience trauma can leave with qualities like renewed appreciation for life, enhanced personal strength, and spiritual growth.

When adversity happens, are you ready?

When your marriage gets hit with a tough challenge, where do you start fixing it? How ready are you when it comes to facing and overcoming adversities? The truth is, we can set our minds for what to come, we can discuss how we would meet our troubles together and how we can strengthen our relationship beforehand, but we can’t become 100 percent ready. You’d be surprised to know the trials that can come to your life and how they can test you and your will.

When you’re faced with your worst fears, the unexpected turns of events, or the painful realization that your married life isn’t as perfect as you thought it was, how do you deal with it? Would you instead give up or fight? Marriage will bring you the happiest memories and the most challenging trials. What makes one couple turn to divorce doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the same with other couples.

Broken marriages come from many issues, trials, and the failure to work on the problem. It’s not easy to do it. That’s why some couples give up, but others don’t. That’s why overcoming adversity in marriage won’t just make us strong; it’ll make us learn the most valuable lessons not just in relationships but with life itself.

When it comes to marriage, this is no different. Adversity can bring couples closer or drive them apart. If both parties are willing, on the side of tragedy is a triumph. With this in mind, here are some ways adversity can strengthen marriages.

Adversity reveals our weakness in the relationship.

Although learning our weaknesses may not seem optimistic, it can be a great gift. When we fail to recognize current patterns of dysfunction, we do ourselves a great disservice. Adversity can reveal a lack of trust for our partner, a need to communicate better, or even our selfish tendencies. When faced with a difficult time, we can choose to blame the other person or only see their flaws or remain positive. We will be better when we do so, and our marriage will also be strengthened.

Adversity teaches us to work together.

During times of tragedy, couples must come together to find a solution. This strengthens relationships as each person has to rely on each other’s strengths to come out victoriously. This was seen clearly during Hurricane Katrina. Experts found that divorce rates declined, as suddenly couples needed one another to survive. They had to trust each other to decide what to do next and how to navigate the unexpected trial. In many cases, after a problem, couples will say how grateful they are that they experienced the painful challenge. Having to lean on one another reminded them how much they loved one another.

Adversity teaches us how to communicate.

Communication is essential for every marriage. The critical aspect of strong relationships is excellent communication. If we want to get through adversity, we have to be willing to listen to one another. This is especially true when the trial deals with infidelity or a person wanting a divorce. These are the times we need to pause, listen to the other person, and seek to understand their needs. Better communication skills will not just help couples in tragedy. It will create a stronger foundation for the future.

Adversity allows us to create new paths.

When faced with challenging situations, we have an opportunity to try something new. Whether it’s starting to date each other more, being intentional about attending to our spouses’ love language, or even moving to a new city, trials allow us to reset and start over. Although change may not be easy, sometimes it makes the difference between a growing marriage or a crumbling one. Charting a new path together gives the couple a chance to learn about themselves and the restoration that adversity can bring. It allows us to completely surrender our plans to whatever is needed to see our marriages win.

Adversity reveals the other person’s strengths.

Going through difficult times can help us see the beauty within our spouse. For example, you could face financial issues while married. While you crumble and constantly overthink what’s going to happen, your partner could step up to the plate and develop a financial plan that will alleviate your problems. If not for that adversity, you wouldn’t have realized that your spouse had those skills. It could also inspire you to trust your partner more when things seem impossible. We can use times of adversity to see the good things in our spouse. We can extend greater love and appreciation for the person, even in the most challenging scenarios.

A few adversities could affect your marriage, from finances to physical hardships. Overcoming adversity in your marriage is a journey that will give us many shortcuts to freedom or escape reality, but marriage isn’t like that. Marriage is that long journey of bumpy roads that can sometimes be lonely and disheartening, but you know what makes it bearable? It’s that person you are with, that person you married, who is willing to take the same journey with you. Learn from your adversities and use these lessons to work on other issues that may arise and ultimately be your spouse’s better half through thick or thin. Adversity isn’t always a bad thing. You’ll learn how much your partner loves you in the hard times.

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