4 Tips Hurricane Sandy Teaches Us About Relationships

Love, Heartbreak

Stress damages relationships. Learn how to stress-proof your relationship and avoid its effects.

Hurricane Sandy is the poster child for how stress damages your relationship. When it blew its way up the East Coast, it did more than destroy homes and businesses. Its aftereffects are still being felt in many relationships — especially now that the storm is over. This because stress can often be as harmful to a relationship as infidelity. In fact, you might even call Sandy "the other woman," one who left an awful lot of post-traumatic stress disorder in her wake.

When I was writing a book called The Indestructible Relationship, I interviewed disaster recovery specialists and couples who had gone through natural disasters. I wanted to find out what we can do to make our own relationships less stressful during and after natural-disasters and all life’s stressful events.

What I found out from the couples I interviewed may help keep your post-Sandy marriage or relationship more peaceful and less stressful as you recover from the effects of the storm. Even if you didn't have a run in with Sandy, the advice below can be a real eye-opener for how your honey reacts to stress.

When we're in the midst of a crisis, the chaos and confusion drive out all thoughts of the impact on the relationship itself. You're too busy just trying to meet physical needs and to survive another day — emotional issues take a back seat. When the danger has passed, however, and you begin to pull your life back together, you take a deep breath and start to catch up to your feelings. It's during this time when relationships are the most vulnerable.

The indestructible couples I interviewed used dozens of skills to keep their relationship strong after a natural disaster and other traumas such as the death of a child, bankruptcy or cancer. Here are four examples of ways you can stress-proof your own relationship after Hurricane Sandy — and after all the stressful events you're likely to endure throughout your relationship.

1. Recognize the gender factor.

Men and women react to stress differently. After Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida, a woman walked into a Red Cross shelter and said, "My husband has gone mad!" She explained that immediately after the hurricane, her husband cleared the debris off the lawn and mowed it — and then he mowed it again the next morning.

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