In the middle of a crisis, married couples usually respond in different ways. One spouse will remain calm while the other one may be freaking out on the inside. One spouse may need a few minutes alone while the other spouse is ready to take charge and go. This is what marriage is about, for better or worse. As a team we complement each other when things are good and when things are bad. No matter the situation, your spouse has needs, especially in crisis.
Here are four things your spouse needs from you in a crisis. Spoiler: These four things are NOT meant to save your marriage. Rather, they are simple reminders of that we all need in crisis.
This one seems like a no brainer, but you need to be reminded that they need you to give them attention. As a guy, I want to fix the problem. I get so focused on the problem and circumstances that I forget to give my wife attention. Also, get off your phone and give them all of your attention. When you give them attention, you are communicating many things, but the most important thing is value. You value your spouse enough to give them attention.
Giving your spouse access means that you are actively communicating with them about what you are thinking and feeling. Access equals honesty and transparency. What have you been keeping to yourself that you need to let your spouse know? Share it all. Your spouse needs access to your emotions, thoughts, feelings and questions. Crisis can bring you closer than ever as long as you both give access.
Affection does not mean sex. Although there is absolutely nothing wrong if it leads to that, affection is healthy physical contact. A hug can communicate so much more in the middle of crisis. Often times we get wound up in the current situation that we forget to hold hands, kiss or just sit close together. Affection communicates that you still like them. Your spouse may be standoffish, worried and distant. They still need affection.
This is the hardest one. Your spouse needs shared adventure. Remember when you both experienced something new for the first time? It connected you together in new and deeper ways. Remember when you watched your spouse hold your kids for the first time? That was the start of an adventure together. How can you make a crisis an adventure? It means you talk about how you will be in this together no matter what. You take each day of the journey together, not alone. When it’s over, you can look back and share all the stories of the adventure you had.