How to make sure your relationship survives tragedy

Any of you dear readers still suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy? I have some loved ones who have been displaced, and lots of my buds spent days in the cold without heat or power. It was terrible to watch on the news and feel like there was nothing to do to help. I hope that you felt the love that I was sending the East Coast’s way.

In watching all of the coverage and listening to the experts talk about how to deal with the aftermath of the storm from governmental, economic and infrastructure perspectives, I thought to myself, I wonder how people are dealing from a relationship perspective? The holidays are here, and that may only be adding to your complicated situation. Extreme stress and unexpected situations can be trying on a relationship. Here are my tips for making sure your relationship can weather any storm, plus the stress and the tragedy that comes with it.

Be prepared

Little comforts can go a long way during stressful situations, and they make being nice and respectful to your partner, despite the fear and high emotions of the event, a lot easier. I know no one is ever expecting a tragedy, but prepare for what you can. In the case of Hurricane Sandy, a house that had batteries, a portable radio, enough snacks and some puzzles to keep a smile on your face would have been a far more pleasant place to be than a house with only Tic Tacs as food and tic-tac-toe as entertainment.

Prioritize together

After a tragedy, there will be an overwhelming number of things to do to get your life back in order, and there’s no way all of them will get done at once. So figure out with your partner what’s the most important for the two of you. For some couples, it could be getting their kids back to school. For other, it’s saving money to fix any damage that will put stress on their lives. Some people may be focused on helping their community while others will cope by getting out of town until the situation is a little bit more stable. Whatever makes sense for you two, do it. Just make sure you both are on the same page so you’re working for the same goals. That way you’ll feel like you’re on the same team battling this tragedy together, rather than battling each other.


Communication is always important in a relationship. Really, that and sex are the two pillars of all successful relationships. In trying situations, communication becomes even more crucial. Your brain works a lot differently under stress. So even if you know each other inside and out, a stressful situation can bring up unexpected reactions. Talk to your partner and be sure that he’s talking to you so that you two are as connected during this tragedy as you are during happier times.

Be strong, all of you Sandy victims and survivors. Our hearts are with you, and I hope that some of my readers will also send a bit of their wallets by donating to the relief efforts!