Being in a relationship can help you through tough times. Usually, the tough time will affect you both differently which can feel very isolating when you trying to support the person who is struggling the most. Even when one person is struggling it is impacting both of you and the relationship. It can be hard to make the relationship a priority. Here are four ways to not let the trouble undermine your relationship:

1. Let each other know what your needs are
It is very important that each of you know what the other expects. Why? Well if you don’t tell me then it is unlikely I am going to know how I can support you at this time. It is okay if your partner is going through something where they have more needs than you. That is how it is at times and also why we are in a relationship as I know you are there for me.

2. Listen, don’t fix
Listening to someone who you love, and they are facing hardship can be emotionally draining. By listening to them shows that you are there for them and want to be by their side. If you jump to fixing it, then you are sending a message that you are not willing to listen to them and want them to get over it or that they are useless.

3. Asking for help
When you’re supporting your partner and seeking to meet their needs it will be hard for your needs to be met. It is okay to ask friends or family for help. Maybe you just want a sounding board or want someone to pick the kids up from school or mow the lawn. Asking for help and making sure you don’t burn yourself out is not selfish; but a healthy way to help support your partner when things are difficult.

4. Have a plan.
When we’re faced with trouble, some of us go straight to fixing mode and others will sit and wallow about how bad things are. Typically, we will respond to a difficulty differently to our partner. Having a plan about what you might do going forwards, helps bring you together by supporting each other to get through this. This a time to work together not telling the other person what to do next.

How you work through and deal with tough times will either make or break a relationship. Getting through the tough times shows the relationship is strong and prepare you for the next tough time when it comes.