Any couple can go through a hard time at one point or another. Common life stressors and transitions can affect even the happiest of marriages and include job changes, financial difficulties, or mental health challenges. These take their toll on the way we communicate with others, our lifestyle, parenting, romantic relationships, or sex life. Empathy and understanding each other, no matter how much you disagree, are crucial to get through difficult times. Therefore, couples need to focus on developing healthy communication styles and more effective ways of resolving conflict. The following are some useful tips that help navigate a healthy relationship after a difficult life event.

Validate your partner’s feelings and address conflict

When going through a rough patch, feelings such as anxiety, grief, and sadness are very common. Therefore, it helps to hold space for such feelings whilst being proactive and trying to find solutions. A couple needs to cope with stress together by talking to each other about the issues that you’re facing, help each other deal with stress, and use coping strategies together. Ideally, a couple faces conflicts as, in the long run, not facing them might lead to disconnection and resentment. To resolve such conflicts, couples need to understand each other’s needs, be transparent and, above all, empathise with one another despite their differences.

Communicate openly

Most healthy relationships are based on good communication. During times of transition, it helps to include your partner and talk openly about any fears and expectations. This enables you to share your thoughts and feelings and, consequently you feel more heard and understood, even during challenging times and changes.

Celebrate good news together

Naturally, we are more inclined to focus on the negative when conflict arises. However, celebrating good news together is found to strengthen a couple’s bond and boosts their well-being. This is especially true when we respond with joy, enthusiasm, and interest as this communication style can improve relationship satisfaction, no matter whether you’re sharing good news or in a conflict. You might consider keeping a gratitude journal to celebrate each other’s goals and accomplishments, where you both record what you are grateful for in the relationship, your lives together, and what you believe your partner adds to your life. 

Prioritise self-care

To maintain your emotional well-being and nurture your relationship, one needs to prioritize self-care. This can be done by engaging in self-reflection, relaxation, and activities that bring you joy and help you unwind. You can even consider engaging in self-car activities as a couple to deepen your connection.

Approach issues as a team

Adopting the mindset “we’re in this together” really helps. It is very normal that you don’t agree on everything, however you need to compromise if you intends to continue the relationship. The more you know that you have each other’s back, the more you can reassure yourself that you can go through anything together.You might consider compiling a list of the issues that you are experiencing and brainstorm possible solutions as a couple.

On a final note, do not hesitate to seek couples therapy if you feel that you can’t make it on your own and you are experiencing very stressful and traumatic events.

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Johanna Cutajar is a Master in Counselling graduate from the University of Malta. She works with children and adolescents as a counsellor within the education sector on a variety of issues including relationship issues, trauma, bereavement, transitions, and general mental health.


Litner, J. (2022). How to Get Through Tough Times in Your Relationship. Retrieved from