I don't care how in love you are. No matter how much naked-couple time you log, how often you finish each other's sentences—even if you regularly eat up hours marveling at the beauty that is your unique, special snowflake of love, every relationship has its ups and downs.
Rare is the couple that can’t handle the highs. Sure, you hear about the occasional marriage that breaks up over lottery windfalls (or when the female half wins an Academy Award, ahem), but for the most part, good fortune is a breeze. It's the rough stuff that puts your love to the test. And what could be harder to handle than the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?!
Horse #1: Pestilence
Thanks to modern medicine, none of us will ever have to soldier through the Black Death or Scarlet Fever, but people do get sick. And if you're committed to your Smoochy Boo, you'd better learn to deal with it.
Patrice, an illustrator in her early 30s, lost her mom a couple years back and since then, every time her girlfriend gets so much as the sniffles, Patrice spins into a panic spiral. She immediately makes chicken soup, has the doctor on speed dial, and hovers and frets to the point where her girlfriend has been known to fake her own recovery.
I'm just the opposite. When my man gets sick, I find myself rolling my eyes and losing patience after a couple hours. I suspect this is because I was brought up by a woman who believed that unless you were projectile vomiting and had a fever well into the triple digits, you were getting your ass onto that school bus, young lady.
Obviously, neither Patrice nor I are so good with the pestilence. Patrice is getting her head shrunk so she can be less of a stress case the next time allergy season rolls around. Me, I’m just working on being less of a bitch. The Frisky: Should I Stay With My Sick Boyfriend?
Horse #2: War
I would argue that the most important thing a couple can learn is how to fight fairly and effectively. That means no name-calling, no below-the-belt blows and, obviously, no physical violence.
To ascertain whether your relationship can weather the test of war, I would suggest going to Ikea and putting yourself through what is known as the Swedish Test of Torture: aka, assembling one of their more complicated pieces of furniture. With only cryptic drawings, allen wrenches and common sense to guide you, you can be sure that if you and your sweetie are able to successfully assemble a BESTÅ/FRAMSTÅ/INREDA storage system together, without murdering each other, you know you're good. (Me and mine hire someone to do it—that works too.) The Frisky: Is Fighting Healthy In A Relationship?