How solid is your romantic relationship? Do you think it could stand up to most of life’s challenges?

That’s what we hope for, right? A union in which you and your partner stand together cohesively in the face of duress, and come through any difficulties as a tighter and stronger couple.

But sometimes life throws us a curve ball or two, and that puts our romantic relationships — even the strongest ones — to the test.

Sometimes, the situation can’t be avoided, such as illness, accident, or death; and other times, we bring it on ourselves.

It’s these things that we have to watch out for, and remind ourselves to do what’s best for us, our partner and our relationship.

A common example would be the young couple who decide to move in with one set of parents while they look for a house to buy, or while building, renovating or remodeling their existing home.
On paper, it seems like a good idea. In reality it can be a disaster and have lasting negative effects.

I know a woman who, with ample space in her home, took in her married daughter. Three years and two kids later, they’re all still living together!

And both sides complain about it. It’s not hard to see that the woman should sit her daughter and son-in-law down, with her husband by her side, and explain that though they love them, it’s time for them to get out.

What’s taken her so long? She’s afraid she’ll upset her daughter, she’s worried about where they’ll go, she enjoys having her grandchildren around, etc. But the living situation isn’t healthy for anyone. Boundaries are blurry, the father feels powerless in his own home, and the women argue.

In some cultures, it’s common for extended families to all live together under one roof. However, young adults can’t flourish unless they have some independence, and young couples need privacy, intimacy and the chance to figure out their roles within their own relationship.

On the flip side, young couples are best to not have roommates — even if it’s a best friend or sibling. Having a third party around changes the dynamic and doesn’t give the couple the chance to get to know each other on a level playing field.
Living with friends can be great fun, but inevitably, we need to learn about our partners on our own, without any outside influence.

This isn’t to say extended families can’t ever successfully live together, but before that decision is made, lines have to be drawn, discussions need to be had, and a mutual understanding needs to be in place.

Family relations are important, and we’re lucky if they provide us with a good support system.
But when it comes down to the trials and tribulations of daily living, we have to know that we can count on our partners, through thick and thin.

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