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7 Strategies for Coping with Crisis

Ken:  For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in good times and bad... that's what we signed up for.  But when difficulties arise it's hard to recall the passion we had on our wedding day.  If you're going through hard times right now, how do you find your way through?

Janine: We all have ups and downs in life.  A crisis that's beyond our control (serious illness, addiction, unemployment, etc) leaves us feeling helpless.  During our most difficult crises, I've fallen into the trap of wanting to blame someone for the situation -including Ken.  If you find yourself saying "if only...," you're probably looking in the wrong direction.  Blaming or "replaying the tape" doesn't help anything.  I came to realize the only thing I can control is my own behavior (and there are still days when I need to be reminded of this). 

Ken: Although we couldn't 'fix' each crisis, we gradually improved at handling those difficult times.  Looking back, I can see we became stronger for going through each crisis, together.
Here are 7 things we found most helpful in the midst of those challenges:

7.  Don't let it consume you:  A crisis can gradually consume our every thought and conversation.  We find it helpful to change the subject every once in a while. It can also help to do something we enjoy, to take our minds off the problem for a little bit.

6.  Find some humor: Don't take yourself too seriously.

5. Get some perspective:  Taking a step back to look at the big picture lifts some of the weight of the situation.  It's helpful to remember... this too shall pass.

4. Tap into spirituality:  Whatever that means for you, this can be a real source of peace.

3.  Lean on your support network:  We make it a point to turn to each other as our first line of support and encouragement.  Thankfully we also have great friends and family we have turned to - together.  When we've been in over our heads, we've sought out professional help:  counseling, a pastor, al-anon, etc.

2.  Communicate with each other:  Talking about the issue is the first step.  Taking the next step, to dig under the surface and talk about our feelings, is what helped us really connect, gain understanding, and grow together instead of apart.

1.  We're on the Same Team:  Remember, It's NOT you vs. me.  It's you AND me vs. the problem.  There is no problem or issue more important than our relationship.

Although you may feel alone in your struggle, you're not.  We want to encourage you.  Hopefully one of the items above will help you move forward, one positive step at a time.


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