Marriage is bliss, or so we are led to believe. In reality, no two people will always be in sync, especially if you live in the same house. Think about your siblings if you have any. Marriage is something like that, except they aren’t blood-related you.
Over time people change. The reason for the change is not that important. What matters is people do change, and it’s a fact. There are cases where people change enough that they end up in a strained relationship. What is a strained relationship? It’s when the couple has too many problems that the stress is taking over their entire lives.
Most couples in a strained relationship fall apart in all aspects of their lives. It affects their health, career, and relationship with other people.
What does a strained relationship mean for the couple
There are people who believe in one mate in a lifetime and would continue to stick to their partner through thick and thin. It is not necessarily a good or bad thing, after all, if you recall your wedding vows, both of you promised to do exactly that.
All marriages have good years and bad years. A lot of mature people understand that and are willing to weather the storm of a strained relationship. According to Life Strategist Renee Teller, she defines a strained relationship is when the problems from it destroy your personal life and career.
She also gave some common causes of strained relationships.
Love makes the world go round, but it’s money that keeps you from being thrown off while it spins. If the couple is having financial problems, there is a chance that your relationship as a couple becomes problematic and strained.
People believe that when you are in a relationship, it should be the number one priority in the couple’s lives. If there is a conflict between that idea and reality, It will result in a strained relationship.
Everything is about attitude. Success in any real-world endeavor is heavily influenced by personal attitude. Long-term relationships are not an exception.
Trust, or rather the loss or lack of it in a relationship can manifest in many ugly ways that can strain the relationship. Problems rooted in trust (or lack thereof) is both silly and damaging. It’s like living in a house or cards, and you constantly turn on the fan.
Couples living in a strained relationship define their lives by the primary problem they have whether it’s money, attitude, or the lack of trust. It creates many case-to-case strained relationship definitions. However, it doesn’t change the fact that problems in their relationship are negatively impacting their entire lives.
Define strained relationship and what makes it different
Every couple has problems.
There are even couples who have problems and arguments every day. Regardless of the frequency of the problems, and it’s not realistic to say there isn’t any or never had one. It is not what gives a strained relationship meaning. A couple is only in the textbook definition of a strained relationship when their private problems spill over to other parts of their lives, regardless of the severity of the problem.
It depends on the people involved. People with high EQ and emotional fortitude are able to continue on with their career and daily lives even when they are suffering from relationship problems. There are others who break down completely because of a simple trivial fight with their partner.
A couple with relationship problems doesn’t necessarily mean they have a strained relationship, but a couple in a strained relationship definitely have underlying problems.
The problem itself is irrelevant. What matters the most is the emotional reaction of each partner. According to socialthinking.com, there is a wide range of reactions to how people cope with their problems. A strained relationship happens when your reactions to the issues in your intimate life are creating new conflicts outside of the relationship.
It also doesn’t matter if the cause is coming from the outside. For example, according to Renee Teller, the first cause of strained relationship is money. Financial difficulties are creating problems with your partner and those, in turn, are causing problems with your career, creating a vicious circle.
On the other hand, if the same financial difficulties are making the relationship problematic, but both you and your partner not letting it affect other factors of your lives, (except those directly affected by money) then you don’t have a strained relationship.
Coping with strained relationships
The main issue with a strained relationship is they have the tendency of creating a domino effect and making the problem much more difficult to resolve. Like the vicious circle in the example above, it can create new problems of their own, and it would eventually surpass the limit for the majority of people.
It is why toxic situations such as a strained relationship need to be dealt with as soon as possible. Here are a few pieces of advice on how to pull yourself out of the rut.
Determine the root cause of the problem
The list from Renee Teller helps a lot. If the problem is coming from the outside such as money, relatives, or career. Attack the problem directly as a couple.
If the problem is related to attitude, trust, and other perceptions, then consider talking with a counselor or making a positive change in your life.
Work together for a permanent resolution
A couple in a strained relationship should both help each other. It is especially true in this case because it directly affects both partners. Communicate and take it step by step, ask for assistance from friends, family, or licensed professionals.
There are also cases if the relationship itself is toxic, that the solution is to dissolve it. Every choice will have good and bad short term effects. The right one is where things will be better in the long run, and the backlash is just secondary concerns.
Clean up the mess
A strained relationship by definition is the source of other problems. Those offshoot problems need to be resolved on their own, or they can return and strain the relationship again.
Regardless if you still ended up together or split apart, make sure you deal with the other problems your strained relationship created in other parts of your life.
Stained relationships are one of the things in life that shouldn’t be ignored. Some problems go away when you ignore them. (such as your neighbor’s dog that howls all night making you lose sleep) You get used to them, and they become part of your background. Life goes on. Strained relationships are not like that, you need to fix them right away, or they will consume your entire being.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.