Natalie is torn up inside about what her husband Sam has been going through. Both of Sam's aging parents have had major health crises over the past year.
Because his brothers live far away and Sam and Natalie live in the same town as his parents, he's been driving them both to and from doctors' visits and has been maintaining their house too.
More from YourTango: 4 Questions You Wish You Never Asked Your Partner
While Natalie regularly helps Sam tend to his parents' many needs, she is feeling the strain. She wants more than anything to be there for Sam (and his parents too), but she has a demanding job and she doesn't want to neglect their children's needs.
Most of the time, Natalie feels exhausted and like she has nothing more to give anyone.
It happens at one point or another in every marriage....stress.
- Unexpected calamities like a hurricane, tornado or other natural disaster
- Unanticipated health crises for you, your spouse, your child or other family members.
- Changes at work in terms of position, workload or employment status
- Emotional rough spots because of traumatic events (past or present) or because of transitions in life
Stress happens and it's tough on a marriage.
When your spouse is stressed out and being stretched and stretched by difficulties, you probably feel compelled to help in some way. You want to be there for your partner.
This is wonderful and can make a huge positive difference for the one you love, but it's not always easy to effectively do.
During challenging times, what many people do is sacrifice their own needs in order to support their partner. They drive themselves just as hard (or harder) than their stressed out partner and end up depleted and sometimes resentful too.
Of course, you probably don't want to callously leave your partner to face the crisis on his or her own. You genuinely want to be there to offer loving support.
But, you also have your limits. There's only so much strain you can take too.
This inner push-pull is something that so many people grapple with and are left feeling like they're not doing enough for their partner while, at the same time, they sacrifice themselves.
It's frustrating and exhausting!
If you want to be there for your partner, do so in wise ways. Follow these 3 tips...
#1: Take care of yourself first.
As selfish and maybe even heartless as it sounds, this is absolutely essential if you want to be the kind of help for your partner that he or she truly needs.
You've got to take care of your own self first.
More from YourTango: 4 Game Changers for a Happier Marriage
There is a reason why flight attendants instruct passengers to secure their own oxygen masks in the event of an emergency before helping a child or anyone else.
You have to be functioning at your best in order to really be there for the one you love.