My husband and I have been through SO much these past few years. More than a lot of people could imagine going through. I think the only thing that compares to the stress is trying to care for a sick child. Thank GOD that has not been something we've faced.
It's easy to find faults in each other. When we are young we start out thinking that the husband will wear a halo and the wife will have wings of an angel. Then real life happens. It gets tough, it gets ugly and most of all, it gets unfair. I think our biggest strength was rolling with the punches.
We could never have anticipated the things we were faced with. By only worrying about what was truly in our control (our actions & reactions) we learned to grow as people and as a couple. It's tempting in difficult times to think things will never get worse. It's tempting to think we've paid our dues and things will turn the corner. THAT is exactly when something worse DOES happen. Surrendering it all and realizing that the only you can do is have the right response when whatever happens, happens, is so very important.
It's easy to think life owes us something. It's easy to think if we make all the right moves and decisions, tragedy or disappointment will be averted. Not so. Every day life reminds me that I am not in control of IT.
Rather, I am in control of myself, my impressions and my actions and reactions. Epictetus, an ancient philosopher, said: "Make the best use of what is in your power and take the rest as it happens". I really lean on this quote for strength when times are tough.
There are so many cilches I could throw out, like you can't have rainbows without rain or you can't know happiness until you've been blue.
I just wanted to pause for a moment and say that as trying as times have been, as stressful as our marriage and family life have been; I wouldn't change a single thing that's happened. When something "bad" has happened, we find something good. Not just something we convinced ourselves was good, but truly good. Like jobs changing mid-career... suddenly we have TONS of family time we never had before. Weekends off, time to go places and take vacations together. Even just being able to sit down together and watch a movie.
We learned to laugh through the tears, to turn scowls into smiles and to hug each other and say something nice at least once a day that we really mean!